AJMLS Alumnus Featured in Forbes

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) alumnus, Brandon E. Campbell, has been recently featured in Forbes. The article, Meet The 29-Year-Old Attorney On A Mission To Redefine Global Citizenship, was digitally published in Forbes Entrepreneurs Under 30.

The article is a worthy read that describes Campbell’s background, education, and early career that propelled him to apply and be accepted in to the Remote Year program. Remote Year brings together inspiring communities of 50-80 freelancers, entrepreneurs, and professionals for a year-long journey to work, travel, and live in 12 different cities throughout the world.* Campbell had the forward-thinking vision to turn his truly unique yearlong international journey, entitled “Extended Family,” in to an experiment that he is readily sharing with those following along on social media. The photographs and videos he is sharing depict the people and experiences he is having along the way.

Campbell self-describes this journey as one that” promotes intercultural exchange and empathy in an effort to uncover what unites us all.”* Additional information about Campbell’s journey can be found on Blavity and The Huffington Post. Congratulations on all that you have accomplished in your career thus far, Brandon, and all that you are set to accomplish in the future. We cannot wait to continue watching this journey unfold!

*From Remote Year.

*From The Huffington Post.

Announcing the Loss of Our Dear Friend, Hayward McBride

hmcbride-armyAtlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is saddened to announce the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Hayward McBride. Hayward was the Law School’s Network Administrator, and a key player on our Information Technology team. Known for his sense of humor and infectious smile, the AJMLS family feels lucky to have met Hayward in 2011. Our hearts are with his family and community.

Hayward served from 1969-1971 in the United States Army. He was in the 1st Signal Brigade/Regional Communications Group in Vietnam. He was a recipient of the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal. After his service, Hayward earned his Bachelors in Business Administration at Alabama State University.

Hayward is survived by his two children and granddaughter.

One of Hayward’s favorite quotes was,

Life is not measured by its length, but by its depth.

Services to be held on July 1, 2017, 11:00 a.m.
Blue Print Church
475 Boulevard NE
Atlanta, GA 30308

National Lawyers Guild (NLG) Named the Outstanding Student Organization of Spring 2017

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School proudly awarded the Spring 2017 Outstanding Student Organization of the Semester Award to National Lawyers Guild (NLG). This award recognizes student organizations that have excelled in leadership and made positive contributions to the student experience, the law school, and the surrounding community in a given semester. Included below are some of the events that NLG sponsored this semester:

  • Legal Observer Training;
  • Landlord Tenant Training;
  • How to Start and Run a Solo Civil Rights Practice (panel discussion);
  • World Day of Social Justice;
  • Know Your Rights Immigration Training;
  • Soul Food Day;
  • Cultural Spotlight Series (co-sponsored with the Latin American Law Student Association);
  • Viewing of the Documentary “13th” (co-sponsored with the Criminal Law Society and the American Constitutional Society); and
  • Celebrating LGBTQ Pride- LIPS ATL.

Congratulations, NLG, on being chosen as the Spring 2017 Outstanding Student Organization!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes Georgia Supreme Court Justice as 2017 Commencement Speaker

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) is pleased to announce Mr. Keith Blackwell, Georgia Supreme Court Justice, as the Law School’s 2017 commencement speaker. Commencement exercises are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. on May 20, 2017 at the Cobb Galleria Centre – Two Galleria Parkway, Atlanta, Georgia 30339.

 

Dean Malcolm L. Morris notes,

The Law School has the distinct pleasure of welcoming Justice Keith Blackwell as the commencement speaker for this year’s ceremony. He has served Georgia from the bench since 2010 and has had an illustrious career since his own graduation in 1999. We look forward to hearing his message to the lawyers of tomorrow.

 

About Mr. Keith Blackwell

Justice Blackwell was appointed to the Supreme Court of Georgia in 2012. He currently serves as a liaison to the State Bar of Georgia and the Office of Bar Admissions and Board of Bar Examiners. Additionally, he serves as chair of the Commission on Interpreters, as a member of the Commission on Dispute Resolution, and as a liaison to the Strategic Planning Committee of the Judicial Council of Georgia.

Prior to being appointed to the bench at the Georgia Supreme Court, he served as a judge of the Court of Appeals of Georgia. He graduated as valedictorian from Cherokee High School and summa cum laude from the University of Georgia with a degree in Political Science. He then attended the University of Georgia School of Law, where he served as senior editor of the Georgia Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif, and went on to graduate summa cum laude.

 

Additional 2017 AJMLS Commencement Information

Tickets are not required for entry. For information regarding parking or other ceremony or venue related topics, you may visit http://www.johnmarshall.edu/graduation/ and/or https://cobbgalleria.com/. There will be a small reception immediately following the ceremony for the graduates and their guests, faculty, staff, and volunteers.
To join the commencement conversation on Twitter and Instagram, follow the hashtag #AJMLSGrads.

Thabo Sefolosha to make substantial donation to Gideon’s Promise

The Atlanta Hawks recently released a statement from player Thabo Sefolosha in which he stated his intention to make a substantial donation to Gideon’s Promise. AJMLS Professor Jonathan Rapping is the President and Founder of Gideon’s Promise. Gideon’s Promise was formed on the mission to transform the criminal justice system by building a movement of public defenders who provide equal justice for marginalized communities.* The organization provides invaluable training and mentorship to public defenders.

Mr. Sefolosha received a $4 million settlement from the New York Police Department in conjunction with a federal lawsuit the Atlanta Hawks forward filed following his April 2015 arrest. During his arrest, Mr. Sefolosha suffered a broken fibula and ligament damage and was forced to sit out the remainder of the NBA regular season — as well as the Hawks’ playoff run to the Eastern Conference finals.*

Gideon’s Promise appreciates the support from the community, including this generous donation from Mr. Sefolosha!

*Taken from the Gideon’s Promise website.

*Taken from the New York Post.

AJMLS Alumna, Holly Waltman, Accepts AIOCLA 2017 10 Best Attorney Award

The American Institute of Legal Counsel (“AIOCLA”) recently named 2012 AJMLS alumna, Holly Waltman, with the prestigious 10 Best Attorney Award. AIOCLA is an impartial third-party attorney rating organization comprised of 13 divisions. AIOCLA recognizes excellence of fellow practitioners in the field.*

During law school, Ms. Waltman earned internships practicing both criminal defense and prosecution. At graduation, she was recognized with The Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears award for highest overall pro bono hours. After graduation, Ms. Waltman worked as a public defender in the State Court of Henry County. She is a graduate of The Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Attorney’s-Bill Daniels Trial Advocacy Program, where she was trained by 25 of the nations top trial attorneys. Currently, she is a Partner at The Law Ladies, an Atlanta based firm specializing in criminal defense and personal injury.

Ms. Waltman will be serving as the guest speaker for the Alpha Phi Sigma induction ceremony at Kennesaw State University on Friday, April 14th at 6:00 p.m. Members of Alpha Phi Sigma at Kennesaw State University are at the top of their class in criminal justice.

Congratulations on your accomplishments, Holly! We can’t wait to see where your success takes you from here.

*Taken from the AIOCLA website.

AJMLS Alumnus Elected to Spalding County State Court

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) graduate and 2001 alumnus, Honorable Josh W. Thacker, was elected last June to serve as a State Court Judge in Spalding County, Georgia. He assumed office on January 1, 2017. Judge Thacker credits an externship that he held in the Spalding County District Attorney’s office, while he was a student at Atlanta’s John Marshall, as launching his career. Following graduation from AJMLS, he served as an Assistant District Attorney before transitioning to practicing criminal defense and ultimately to serving as a State Court Judge today. He tried hundreds of cases before he took office at the beginning of this year.

Only a few shorts weeks in to his tenure on the bench, he ruled the social media sharing platform, Snapchat, immune from distracted driver claims. An attorney for Snapchat told The Associated Press in an emailed statement that the “the judge’s ruling in this case is precedent setting for the entire mobile app and product industry.”*

Many congratulations on your accomplishments thus far, Judge Thacker! We will continue to enjoy watching your career successes.

*Taken from the Daily Report.

CLEO and AJMLS recently presented Road to Law School, a prelaw seminar

In conjunction with The Council on Legal Education Opportunity (“CLEO”), Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) recently presented Road to Law School, a prelaw seminar. CLEO is a national organization that was founded in 1968 to expand opportunities for minority and low-income students to attend law school.* The Road To Law School seminar aims to provide Freshmen an overview of the key components of the law school application process.*

The event featured a variety of seminars aimed to assist those in attendance with preparing for law school. Seminar topics included Practical Law: Practicing Law in the “Real World;” a Mock Law Class; How to Get the Most Out of Your Undergraduate Experience; a Mock Admissions Committee; a Reading/Writing Workshop; and an Introduction to Logical Reasoning & Critical Thinking. Attendees were also invited to have lunch with CLEO Alumni, Associates & Fellows. Additionally, the event boasted presenters with impressive legal backgrounds and careers. The event was meant to inspire those with goals of attending law school while also providing tangible assistance with navigating the path to acceptance and success.

AJMLS was thrilled to partner with CLEO to make this event a success. Our hope is that the eager legal minds in attendance continue on the path that leads them to law school. For more information on CLEO’s mission and future events please click here.

*From the Council on Legal Education Opportunity, Inc. website.

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AJMLS Student Contributed to Article Published in the Georgia Bar Journal

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (“AJMLS”) 3L student, Kendra Livingston, recently contributed to the writing of an article that was published in the December 2016 Georgia Bar Journal. An electronic copy of the article, entitled No Vacation: Top Criminal Defense Attorneys Travel to Tbilisi, can be found here and by clicking to page 32. A special thanks to Kendra can be found on page 35.

The article is a worthy read about eight Georgia lawyers who recently traveled to Tbilisi, which is the capital of the country of Georgia. In January 2017, the Republic of Georgia granted all criminal defendants the right to a jury trial. The resulting dilemma was that local lawyers and their clients were mostly uneducated in the art of trial advocacy. The purpose of the trip was to educate and empower local defense attorneys. More trips are planned in the future to continue the training process.

I encourage the AJMLS community to read this article. Congratulations, Kendra! This is a wonderful accomplishment.

AJMLS and SLS Welcome New Member to the Board of Directors

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School are pleased to announce the appointment of Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker, the County Attorney for Fulton County, Georgia, to the Board of Directors.

In her capacity as County Attorney, she is responsible for all of the civil legal needs of one of the largest counties in Georgia. She supervises a staff of over 30 professionals and provides legal advice to seven commissioners and over 40 departments. Prior to joining Fulton County, she served as the Vice President and General Counsel for the Atlanta BeltLine Inc. for six years.

She is a former partner with the law firm of Hollowell, Foster & Gepp, PC, where she was in charge of the Commercial Real Estate Group. She also owned her own law firm for over 10 years.

Perkins-Hooker is a leader in her profession and very actively engaged in the Atlanta community. She was the 52nd President of the State Bar of Georgia and the first person of color elected to this position. She has previously served on the Board of Governors and as a member of the Executive Committee of the State Bar. She has been elected Secretary (2011-12), Treasurer (2012-13) and President-Elect (2013-14). She is also a past chair of the State Bar’s Real Property Law Section, a past parliamentarian of the Atlanta Planning and Advisory Board, and the founding chair of Neighborhood Planning Unit-Q. Additionally, she is a past chair of Hosea Feed the Hungry’s Board of Directors.

Perkins-Hooker is an honors graduate of Georgia Tech and received her graduate degrees from Emory University Law and Business Schools. She was admitted to the Bar in 1984. She has received numerous honors for her service to the legal profession and the community, including being inducted into the Gate City Bar Association’s Hall of Fame, being presented the Leah Ward Sears Service to the Profession Award by the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys, being presented an Honorary degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, and being presented the Eleonoré Raoul Greene Trailblazer Award from Emory University Law School. She has also received the Phoenix Award from the Mayor of Atlanta. This is the highest honor bestowed on citizens in Atlanta for their outstanding contributions.

She is happily married to Douglas R. Hooker. They have two children and eight grandchildren.

Perkins-Hooker joins the following members of the Board of Directors:

Richard B. Herzog, Jr., Chairman

Partner, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP

Dean Frank T. Read, Vice Chairman

President & Dean Emeritus, South Texas College of Law

Dr. Michael C. Markovitz, Ph.D., Treasurer

Honorable Carol W. Hunstein

Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Adam Malone,

Partner, Malone Law

Kevin Ross

President, Kevin Ross Public Affairs Group LLC

Dean James P. White

Consultant Emeritus

Section of Legal Education & Admission to the Bar

American Bar Association

AJMLS ranked as one of the Best Online Law Schools by College Choice

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was recently ranked as one of the Best Online Law Schools by College Choice. For a full list of the rankings please click here.

John Marshall Online, Inc., (JMO) was founded to provide a quality Master of Laws in Employment Law degree program and other areas of professional education offered through distance education. Please visit John Marshall Online to learn more about the programs offered and how to apply. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs, Professor Jace Gatewood.

Alpa Amin Selected as Top 40 Under 40

Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumnus, Alpa Amin, was recently named one of Georgia Trend’s 40 Under 40.The 2016 Georgia Trend 40 Under 40 represent a plethora of professions. The 40 selected were chosen from nominations made by readers of Georgia Trend throughout the state and the final selections were made by the editorial staff.

Ms. Amin is the Lead Attorney for the Victims of Violence Project at the Georgia Asylum and Immigration Network. In her role of Lead Attorney, Ms. Amin recruits, trains and mentors volunteer attorneys from the Atlanta legal community and provides direct representation to immigrant victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault who need assistance with filing T-visas, U-visas, and VAWA Self-Petitions/Battered Spouse Waivers. She works closely with federal, state, and local law enforcement and is a frequent guest speaker on issues surrounding vulnerable immigrant communities.

This is quite an impressive accomplishment, Alpa, but so well deserved. Thank you for all that you do for our community.

AJMLS Hosts Atlanta Citizen Review Board

On September 8, 2016 Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School hosted the Atlanta Citizen Review Board (“ACRB”) for a Community Board Meeting in the Blackburn Conference Center. This Community Board Meeting provided an opportunity for citizens of Atlanta to listen to a Report from the Executive Director of the ACRB, Mr. Lee Reid II, and hear updates on various complaints and ongoing investigations within the community.

The Atlanta Citizens Review Board was established by ordinance as an independent agency in 2007 (and amended with subpoena power in May 2010) to ensure that city departments of Atlanta that are directly responsible for public safety, such as the Atlanta Police Department (APD) and the Department of Corrections, have the proper support of government and its various agencies. The ACRB is designed to provide oversight of misconduct accusations against sworn members of the police and corrections departments in the City of Atlanta.

The ACRB provides an independent and credible forum for complaints and accusations to be assessed. It is also designed to help prevent future incidents of police or corrections misconduct and abuses of civil rights. For more information on the Atlanta’s Citizen Review Board and its programs, please click here.

 

SALT Awards 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award to Professor Harpalani

Savannah Law School Professor Harpalani has been awarded the esteemed 2016 Junior Faculty Teaching Award by the Society of American Law Teachers (‘SALT’). The award recognizes an outstanding and emerging law professor who demonstrates a commitment to justice, equality and academic excellence. Professor Harpalani was selected for the award among a field of highly deserving nominees.

Professor Harpalani is truly a quality professor who values a commitment to social justice, diversity, and access in his teaching, scholarship and service. He is very much deserving of this national accolade.

The award will be given at the SALT Annual Members Meeting at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago on September 30th. When you see Professor Harpalani on campus, be sure to pass along your congratulations. This is a prestigious award and Professor Harpalani is a wonderful representation of the quality of education at Savannah Law School.

SBA Student Representative Elections Results

The results of the SBA Student Representative Elections are in!

Please see below the list of 2016-2017 SBA Student Representatives:

1L Full-time Section A Representatives: Dwight Harris and Mikah Fuller
1L Full-time Section B Representatives: Samantha Beskin and Randy Williams
1L Criminal Justice Honors Representative: Jasmine Davis
1L Part-time Student Representatives: Bianca Hancock and Tasha Lumpkin
2L Full-time Student Representatives: Kamaria Womack and John Brumfield
2L Criminal Justice Honors Representative: Calvana Cedant
2L Part-time Student Representatives: Alexa Callaway and Randall Mixon
3L Full-time Student Representatives: Emmanuela Saint-Jean and Sharon Payne
3L Part-time Student Representative: Megan McCulloch
4L Part-time Student Representative: Alicia Thompson

Please congratulate your new student representatives! Thank you to all the candidates and students who participated in the SBA electoral process!

Remember, continue to Be Present. Be Intentional. Be Impactful.

Professor Jaffe Quoted in The Wrap

Robert Sepúlveda Jr. is Logo TV’s lead in the network’s first same-sex dating show, Finding Prince Charming. He is threatening to sue online cyberbullies for “targeted harassment, shaming and bullying.” Sepúlveda Jr. turned to Instagram to fire back at those he feels have bullied him and stated “if you come for me, we will come for you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.” This transpired following revelations that Sepúlveda Jr. worked as a male prostitute while in college. Members and activists within the gay community were outraged to learn of Sepúlveda Jr.’s past.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Associate Professor Elizabeth Jaffe was quoted in the article. “It’s unclear who he intends to sue,” Jaffe said. “But I think it would be difficult for him to make that case. If people are saying ugly things about him, it doesn’t necessarily rise to the level of cyberbullying.” In our modern social media world, anti-bullying laws that have an electronic harassment provision are currently an area of evolution within the law. Thank you Professor Jaffe for your comments on such a relevant legal discussion.

#StayMadAbby: The Politics, Promise and Perplexity of Fisher II

Professor of Law Tanya Washington will address students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School during the AJMLS Chapter of the American Constitution Society’s Constitution Week. The event, #StayMadAbby: The Politics, Promise and Perplexity of Fisher II, promises to be a thought-provoking discussion on the status of affirmative action and equal protection under the law.

September 17, 2016 marks a pivotal day in our nation’s history: the 229th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. The ACS John Marshall Law Student Chapter is recognizing this event through a week of activities leading up to September 17, 2016. The event to be held on September 15th centers on the Constitution’s equal protection guarantee and affirmative action programs.  The hashtag, #staymadabby, created by social media followers as a response to the recent Fisher II case, will be addressed by Professor Washington at the event.

Professor Washington earned her J.D. from The University of Maryland School of Law and her LL.M. from Harvard Law School. Professor Washington has been teaching Civil Procedure I and II, Family Law, Education Law and Race and Law at Georgia State University College of Law for the past thirteen years. Her research and scholarship focus on issues related to educational equity and issues arising at the intersection of domestic relations, race and children’s constitutional rights. Additionally, her efforts to expand and deepen the pipeline of students entering law school earned her recognition in 2013 as one of 50 minority law professors under 50 making an impact in legal education.

The event will take place on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 5:15 p.m. in Room 304. All viewpoints are welcomed and encouraged to attend and dinner will be provided. For more information on the American Constitution Society, please visit www.acslaw.org and by searching Facebook under the name AJMLS ACS Chapter.

Georgia Bar Celebrates 100 Years of Women in the Profession

Alumna and 2011 AJMLS graduate Virginia (Ginger) Arnold recently had the honor of taking part in a panel discussion during the State of Georgia YLD Women in the Profession Committee’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of women’s admission in to the practice of law. The event took place at the State Bar Headquarters earlier this month.

Speaking on the panel with Arnold was Senior Judge Dorothy Beasley. Judge Beasley was the first woman judge in Fulton County and the first woman on the state Court of Appeals. Since her retirement, she has remained active in the legal community. She challenged the women practitioners in our state to seek leadership roles in the profession. Currently more than half of law students are female and that number is rising.

When asked about her participation in the panel, Arnold stated that “it was an honor to be on this panel with esteemed attorneys and judges.” You can read more about the celebration here. Thank you for your participation, Ginger!

Alumna Janie Parks Varnell Learned How to Practice Law During her Time at AJMLS

Alumna and 2012 graduate Janie Parks Varnell currently practices as a criminal defense attorney with the firm Davis & Hoss in Chattanooga, TN. Varnell represents individuals charged with crimes in state and federal court. Notably, Varnell was recently featured in an Editorial in the Hamilton County Herald. The article focused on Varnell’s belief that her education taught her how to practice law.
While a student, Varnell took advantage of all that AJMLS had to offer and made the most of her legal education. She emphasizes that she did not just learn about the law, but more importantly she learned how to practice it. In particular, Varnell reported that Professor Mears took her under his wing during her time at AJMLS and spent a substantial amount of time explaining the ins and outs of practicing law to her. The Editorial reports that Varnell will always be indebted to Professor Mears because he took the time to explain to her how to be a lawyer.
Varnell is a member of the 2015 graduating class of Leadership Chattanooga. More information can be found on Varnell by visiting the Davis & Hoss website here. Best of luck to Janie on her future endeavors and congratulations on her numerous post-graduate accomplishments thus far.

Alumnus Adam Malone Receives Honors

Atlanta’s John Marshall alumnus and 2000 class valedictorian, Adam Malone, was recently made a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. The International Academy of Trial Lawyers is a group of truly elite trial lawyers representing both sides of the Bar. The Academy limits fellowship to only 500 active trial lawyers under the age of 70. Malone’s admission to such a small group of super lawyers is an immense honor and a testament to his illustrious career thus far.

Malone was also recently awarded the 2016 Mel Award from the Melvin M. Belli Society. The Melvin M. Belli Society was founded in 1981 based on the idea that within the American Trial Lawyers Association there should be a group of lawyers who had distinguished themselves as trial lawyers and who were dedicated to the principles of education on an international basis. The Mel Award is an award given in the spirit of Mel Belli to an attorney who is innovative and who has made a significant contribution to the practice of trial law in America. To be the 2016 recipient is an esteemed honor.

Congratulations, Adam!

Professor Rapping Discusses Current State of the Criminal Defense System

Atlanta’s John Marshall’s Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently asked to participate in a discussion on the podcast Criminal (In)Justice with David Harris. The subject of the podcast was the current state of our criminal defense system, specifically indigent defendants requiring state-provided assistance of counsel.

Professor Rapping was asked to participate because of both his impressive resume and his extensive skill set in this domain.  The discussion centered on the current underfunding for public defenders. Due to the underfunding and general lack of necessary resources, public defenders are handling record high caseloads. Because of the heavy caseloads, public defenders are unable to provide each and every defendant with adequate representation. During the podcast, Professor Rapping explains the purpose behind Gideon’s Promise and his mission to remedy the system through strengthening public defenders.

You are highly encouraged to listen to the podcast here. The discussion is thought provoking and highly relevant. Thank you, Professor, for your continued work in this arena.

AJMLS Alumna Named Co-Editor of Georgia YLD Newsletter

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna and 2011 graduate, Heather Riggs, was recently named Co-Editor of The YLD Review. The YLD is the State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyers Division’s newsletter.

Riggs is the owner of MindMeld Marketing in Atlanta. MindMeld Marketing concentrates on providing assistance to clients with website content, blogging and social media. Riggs’ client base focuses on creating digital marketing plans for lawyers and law firms. Riggs started MindMeld Marketing following starting her own successful adoption law practice.

Riggs has previously served in many positions before within the American Bar Association YLD and the Georgia YLD. She is also a member of the YLD Leadership Academy Class of 2015. Congratulations, Heather!

Professor Rapping Selected to Participate in Town Hall by Russell Simmons

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Professor Jonathan Rapping was recently selected by Russell Simmons and his media company, All Things Def, and participated in a town hall at the Montalban Theater in Los Angeles. Along with our own Professor Rapping, the panel featured Nick Cannon; National Bar Association President Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin; National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives President Gregory Thomas; and New York Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Donna Lieberman. The event was moderated by former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry.

The town hall was arranged for the parties to come together for a public discussion about recent civilian deaths and the need for revised law enforcement and policies. The event will be the first in a series of public conversations about criminal justice reform.

Professor Rapping was chosen to participate because he is the founder of Gideon’s Promise, an organization that trains public defenders. Thank you for representing AJMLS and for your insight in such a relevant conversation, Professor.

AJMLS Alumnus Successfully Argues in Front of Supreme Court of Georgia

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and 2008 graduate, David Willingham, successfully argued a reversal in front of the Supreme Court of Georgia. The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in Zilke v. Georgia on June 20, 2016.

Willingham’s client, Bajrodin Zilke, was charged with two counts of driving under the influence and several traffic violations by a POST-certified police officer employed by Kennesaw State University. Notably, the traffic stop did not occur on or near KSU property. Willingham moved to suppress evidence of a breath test on the grounds that the KSU police officer lacked jurisdiction to arrest his client. The trial court granted the motion. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision.

The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision and granted Willingham’s Motion to Suppress.  This effectively reversed the Georgia Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Glazner v. State and all subsequent rulings based on Glazner.

This was a huge victory for Willingham and his client. Congratulations, David!

AJMLS Alumnus Sworn in as Superior Court Judge

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and 2008 graduate, Dustin Hightower, was recently sworn in to serve as a superior court judge in the Coweta Judicial Circuit. Hightower’s current seat was made vacant when Judge A. Quillian Baldwin, Jr. retired from the court earlier this year. On May 26, 2016, Governor Nathan Deal administered Hightower’s oath.

Hightower formerly represented the 68th district in the Georgia House of Representatives. He also served as a named partner at the firm Miller and Hightower, Attorneys at Law.

Congratulations, Dustin! We know you will continue to represent AJMLS well from the bench.

2016 G. Alan Blackburn Competition Results

The G. Alan Blackburn Competition is a culmination of all the hard work that the first year students have put into their Legal Writing, Research, and Analysis (LWRA) II problem. This year’s competition was comprised of the top four students from each LWRA II class, a total of thirty-six students.

The competition was four rounds with the final round being held on Wednesday, April 20th. The competitors were judged by Advocacy Board members in the first two rounds, AJMLS Alumni in the third round, and three sitting judges and a practicing attorney for the final round. The final round judges were Presiding Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes of the Georgia Court of Appeals, Judge Christopher J. McFadden of the Georgia Court of Appeals, Judge Ural D. Glanville of Fulton County Superior Court, and Mr. Allen Wallace.

The final round competitors were: Zalak Raval, Rayshawn Williams, Andrew Puckett, and Allison Whitfield.
Williams and Mr. Puckett won Runner-Up Best Oralists this year.
Ms. Raval and Ms. Whitfield won Best Oralists for the final round.
Ms. Whitfield and Ms. Sarah Owensby won the best brief awards for their respective positions.

In addition to those results, the following students were awarded an invitation to the Advocacy Board as Provisional Members based on their performances:

Zalak Raval, Brandi Sluss, Nana-Yaa Amaning, Rayshawn Williams, Sarah Owensby, Tarla Atwell, Heather Kuhn, Andrew Puckett, Allison Whitfield, Kamaria Womack, and Bailey Edwards.

Please congratulate these students on their tremendous accomplishments!

2016 G Alan Blackburn Competition

Award winners with the final round judges: Pictured from left to right are Mr. Allen Wallace, Judge Ural D. Glanville, Zalak Raval, Rayshawn Williams, Andrew Puckett, Allison Whitfield, Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes, and Judge Christopher J. McFadden. Not pictured: Sarah Owensby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2016 G Alan Blackburn Competition 2

Invitees to the Advocacy Board: Pictured from left to right are Mr. Allen Wallace, Judge Ural D. Glanville, Tarla Atwell, Allison Whitfield, Rayshawn Williams, Kamaria Womack, Zalak Raval, Andrew Puckett,  Judge Anne Elizabeth Barnes, and Judge Christopher J. McFadden. Not pictured: Brandi Sluss, Nana-Yaa Amaning, Sarah Owensby, Heather Kuhn, and Bailey Edwards.

AJMLS Participates in 5th Annual Georgia Legal Food Frenzy Competition

The Georgia Legal Food Frenzy is a partnership between the Georgia Attorney General, the Young Lawyers Division and the Georgia Food Bank Association. Lawyers and law schools statewide are challenged to compete outside the courtroom and classroom to raise food and funds for Georgia’s eight regional food banks, which serve 156,500 unique clients in Georgia on a weekly basis. All of the food and funds collected are donated to the regional food bank that serves each competitor’s community. In its first four years of competition, the Legal Food Frenzy raised the equivalent of more than 3.7 million pounds of food for Georgians in need.

The winning law school will receive the coveted “Attorney General’s Cup” and the title of the Legal Food Frenzy Law School Champion.

Support Atlanta’s John Marshall in their fundraising campaign by donating through this link. The Law School Competition is from April 4-15th so be sure to make a monetary donation or bring in your canned goods by the end of this week!

 

Former Chief Medical Examiner for State of Georgia Speaks to AJMLS Students

Dr. Kris Sperry, Retired Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Georgia, spoke to students in Professor Michael Mears’ Advanced Evidence class on Monday, March 7, 2016 about forensic pathology and autopsies.

Having served the State of Georgia as the Chief Medical Examiner for over 18 years, Dr. Sperry offered an unrivaled learning experience for Atlanta’s John Marshall students.

The Law School thanks Dr. Sperry for his time and expertise.

 

Alumnus Adam Malone Named Lawyer of the Year

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and 2000 class valedictorian, Adam Malone, has been recognized by his peers and named Georgia’s 2016 Lawyer of the Year for Medical Malpractice Law – Plantiffs by Best Lawyers. Malone, a Partner at Malone Law, was also featured as a cover story, Rising to the Top, for the current issue of Best Lawyers magazine.

“Lawyer of the Year” recognitions are awarded to attorneys with the highest overall peer-feedback for a specific practice area and geographic location. Only one lawyer is recognized annually for each specialty and location.

After graduating from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Malone clerked for the Honorable G. Alan Blackburn of the Georgia Court of Appeals and was a prosecutor in the Clayton County District Attorney’s Office before joining his father in the practice of law. Malone also currently serves Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School on the Board of Directors.

Congratulations, Adam!

AJMLS Sports & Entertainment Law Society Hosts 2016 Sports, Music & Entertainment Summit

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Sports & Entertainment Law Society, The Atlanta Entertainment basketball League and Econtii Music Group are proud to present the 2016 Sports, Music & Entertainment Summit (SMES). The summit will take place on February 20, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Blackburn Conference Center.

This one-day summit will feature panels, workshops, interviews, a luncheon and an evening mixer that will provide education and networking opportunities for local students and professionals. “The mission of SMES is to inspire, build and contribute to the sports, music & entertainment industry by providing educational resources to students and professionals through connections, guest speaking panels and educational materials,” said Portia Mazone, owner and creative director of Econtii Music Group, an Atlanta-based entertainment resources and consulting firm.

The founding partners of SMES plan to merge sports, music and entertainment industry insiders, college students looking to enter into the workforce and working professionals with the hopes of helping them connect, learn and build. Film, sports and music panels will be at the heart of this day-long summit. Attendees will also participate in workshops, interviews, a luncheon and an evening mixer.

SMES will take place at the Blackburn Conference Center at 1405 Spring St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.SMESATL.Eventbrite.com or upon entry. For college students with a school I.D., the entry fee is $15. For all others, general admission is $25.

SMES Schedule

9:00 A.M. – Check In/Registration

10:00 A.M. – 11:00 A.M – Learn the Biz Workshops

Live Nation Entertainment Presents: Sync or Swim – A Workshop on syncing, micro licensing, and streaming considerations.
– Julie Roach, Principal Attorney and Owner of Julie K. Roach, Esq., LLC
– Ashley Hollan Couch, Principal at The Hollan Entertainment Law Group, LLC
– Emily Kaye, Artist Rights Acquisitions-Live Nation

Beyond The Game: Sports Law Workshop
– Cecelia Townes, Esq.

11:15 A.M. – 12:15 P.M. – Lights, Camera, Action: Television & Film in Atlanta – Moderated by Rea Davis, Entertainment Journalist

– M. Scott Boone, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor
– Patty Miranda, Digital Entertainment Officer, Mayor’s Office of Film & Entertainment, City of Atlanta
– Lee Cuthbert, Georgia Department of Economic Development Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office
– Tory Edwards- Vitamin E Media
12:30P.M.-1:30P.M. – The Playbook: The Business of Sports – Moderated by Bria Janelle of LoudGenius.Com
– Nzinga Shaw, Atlanta Hawks, Chief Officer of Diversity & Inclusion
– Jahi Rawlings, CEO, Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League
– Jay Pearson, WNBA Agent and Owner of Sports Wire Management and Media Company
– Sunny Wilkins, Esq.
– Cecelia Townes, Esq, Beyond The Game, LLC

1:45 P.M. – 2:45 P.M. – Lunch Mixer

3:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M. – The Future of the Music Business – Moderated by Karen Marie Mason of Artist Launch

– Ray Daniels, Sr. VP of A&R Interscope Records
– Jenny Drake, Music Industry & Marketing Executive
– Jason Reddick, Promotions Director Of Radio One Atlanta Hot 107.9
– Tamiko Hope, PR to The Stars, WordInk
– Mike Walbert, Executive Director A3C Hip Hop Festival

4:15 P.M. – 6:00 P.M. – Networking Mixer

ABOUT Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Sports & Entertainment Law Society:
Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Sports and Entertainment Law Society (SELS) provides students with access to practitioners and other individuals in the sports and entertainment law fields, to afford students the opportunity to pursue and explore the many areas of sports and entertainment law.

ABOUT The Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League:
Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League (AEBL), founded by Jahi Rawlings in 2013, is Atlanta’s newest live sports and entertainment attraction for competitive basketball played by current, former and aspiring NBA players, celebrities, entertainers and local athletes.

ABOUT Econtii Music Group:
Econtii Music Group (EMG) is an entertainment consulting firm based in Atlanta, geared towards assisting professionals who are seeking project guidance in the entertainment industry. EMG specializes in legal research, branding and connecting professionals to the resources they need in order to successfully navigate throughout the entertainment industry.

For additional information, please contact Jah Rawlings at Jahirawlings3@gmail.com

For media inquiries, contact inf.smes@gmail.com

New Student Orientation This Saturday

Welcome

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to welcome the incoming spring 2016 class. The semester begins Monday, January 11, 2016 and the mandatory Orientation for first-year students is this Saturday, January 9, 2016.

The event is hosted by the Office of Student Affairs and Pro Bono Programs, and all event information may be found on the Orientation page.

On behalf of the entire Atlanta’s John Marshall community, we welcome you to campus and look forward to meeting you!

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Named to Victory Media’s 2016 Military Friendly Schools List

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School jointly announced that they have each been designated as a 2016 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs®, STEM JobsSM and Military Spouse.

Institutions competed for the elite Military Friendly® School title by completing a survey of over 100 questions covering ten categories, including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and military spouse policies. Survey responses were scored against benchmarks across these key indicators of success. In addition, data was independently tested by EY (Ernst & Young) based upon the weightings and methodology established by Victory Media with guidance from an independent Advisory Board of higher education and recruiting professionals.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation. The methodology used for making the Military Friendly® Schools list has changed the student veteran landscape to one much more transparent, and has played a significant role over the past seven years in capturing and advancing best practices to support military students across the country.

“Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and Savannah Law School are firmly committed to fostering an environment that enriches the lives of our service members–both academically and professionally– as they prepare for careers in the legal field”, said Dean Malcolm L. Morris, who is the dean of both law schools.

“Post-secondary institutions earning the 2016 Military Friendly® School award have exceptionally strong programs for transitioning service members and spouses,” said Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and Navy Reserve veteran. “Our Military Friendly® Schools are truly aligning their military programs and services with employers to help students translate military experience, skills and training into successful careers after graduation.”

For more information on either school’s the commitment to attracting and supporting military students, visit the Atlanta’s John Marshall Veterans Benefits page or the Savannah Law School Veterans Benefits page.

Congratulations to the December Graduates

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates its December 2015 graduates. Happy holidays!

 

 

 

 

Jacques Alpacino Barker
Chantiel Denise Bell
Anthony W Berry
Audra Braswell Bleecker
Michael Allen Bodiford
Shalena Mary Broadbelt
Garrett Michael Emmons
Carl Von Epps III
Robert Mason Frisbie
Corey Dwayne Givens
Noor Elizabeth Janho
Georgia Kasidakis
Tom Katusabe
Paul Christopher Kunst
Jennifer Marie McLaughlin
Douglas Mihalik
Kelly Leigh Morton
Joseph Grady Nickel Jr
Brandy L Porter
Amber Holly Reed
Alyssa Marie Sawicki
Jeffrey Sayer
David Morris Schlachter
Shana Leinaala Scott
Audrey Antoinette Simmons
Gina Renee’ Billingsley Smith
Lisa Sonoda
Tangelita Quiimaii Taylor
Adrienne Leigh Thornton
LeAnna Gail Wade
Corey DuWayne Woods
Jeremy A Yakle

Alumni Sworn Into U.S. Supreme Court

On Monday, November 30, 2015, Dean Malcolm L. Morris sponsored eight AJMLS alumni and two guests to be sworn into the U.S. Supreme Court (Court). In order to be sworn into the Court, an attorney must have been sworn into the highest court in the state in which they are licensed for at least three years and be in good standing with that court. Those who were sworn in were: Ginger Arnold (’11), David Blackburn and his daughter, alumni Lara Blackburn Carillo (’12), Jesse Kent (’09), Prof. Stacey Mitchener, Terrye Nash (’10), Hon. Ronald Ramsey, Sr. (’92), Heather Riggs (’11), Joshua Smith (’00), and Margaret Spencer (’05.)

The evening before the swearing in, everyone enjoyed a wonderful evening with their family and friends at a reception hosted by the Alumni Office at the esteemed Willard Hotel. They dined on delicious hand-passed hors d’oeuvres and sipped on refreshments from the bar. It was a lovely event in the beautifully decorated room called “The Nest.”

On the day of the swearing in, the soon-to-be admittees had breakfast with their guests in the East Conference room of the Court. It was a wonderful photo opportunity as a large picture of former Chief Justice John Marshall hangs over the mantel of the fireplace. After breakfast, the Clerk of the Court escorts the guests into the courtroom and the attorneys are ushered in just before the Court begins its session. After being sworn in by the Clerk of the Court, the newly admitted attorneys and guests remained in the courtroom to watch the first oral argument. Needless to say, they were happy they weren’t presenting a case that day!

Despite the rain on the morning of the swearing in, everyone enjoyed beautiful weather in Washington, D.C. and had a once in a lifetime experience. It is definitely an experience you don’t want to miss!

2015 Alumni Supreme Court Swearing In 2015 Alumni Supreme Court Swearing In 2

Assistant Dean Ortega and Professor Malempati Present at 2015 Georgia Conference on Children and Families

Assistant Dean Ortega and Professor Malempati of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School presented at the 2015 Georgia Conference on Children and Families (GCCF) held in Augusta, Georgia October 21-23, 2015.

The GCCF is the largest annual interdisciplinary event in Georgia designed to bring together the community that serves children and families, including child advocacy, juvenile justice, social service, legal counsel, and the faith-based community.

The conference provided a forum to improve competencies, network, and learn from experts in the field with the goal of improving outcomes for children and families. Dean Ortega spoke on Post-Disposition Advocacy for Delinquent Youth and Professor Malempati spoke about Bridging the Gap between Dependency and Delinquency.

Student Advocacy Board Placed As Quarter Finalists in Carolinas Invitational

2015.10 Carolinas InvitationalThe Advocacy Board of Atlanta’s John Marshall is pleased to announce that our trial team placed as quarter finalists in the Carolinas Invitational Mock Trial Tournament. Twelve teams competed in the tournament which was hosted by the Charlotte School of Law and which involved a state criminal charge of Murder in the First Degree.

Competitors were: James Boles (3L), Sara Wardlow (2L), Sarah Pomella (3L), and Adrienne Thornton (3L). The team was coached by attorney Mitchell McGough of Atlanta.

AJMLS Team Awarded Best Defendant’s Memorandum of Law at Stetson Pretrial Competition

Stetson Law hosted their eighth annual National Pretrial Competition this past weekend and the team from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School has once again been awarded Best Defendant’s Memorandum of Law. This is the third time during the past five years that Atlanta’s John Marshall has won the best brief award at the Stetson competition.

The winning team was composed of Michael Barrett (3L), Amber Reed (3L), Sadia Ali (2L), and Olivia Fisher (2L). The team was coached by Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus Mathis Wilkens, Assistant District Attorney in Dekalb County, and the team Director was Professor Suparna Malempati.

Congratulations to all the competitors!

Stetson 2015-2 Stetson 2015-3 Stetson 2015-1b

AJMLS Professor and Death Penalty Legal Expert Michael Mears Interviewed

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Associate Professor, Michael Mears, is one of the top death penalty legal experts in the state of Georgia.

Over the course of his career, Professor Mears has worked on 167 death penalty cases, published numerous death penalty related works, and is a frequent expert contributor to multiple media outlets.

Having worked on an earlier appeal in the recent case of Kelly Gissendaner, he has also been called upon frequently to comment on her case, the appeals process, and future of the death penalty in the state of Georgia.

Below are his most recent interviews and quotes:

CBS46 Interview:
CBS46 News
Georgia Public Broadcasting: On Second Thought (September 30, 2015)

 

AJMLS Father Daughter Alumni Team Featured in Daily Report

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Alumni, Michael Puglise (’93) and Brooke Puglise (’14) of Puglise Law Firm, are featured in today’s Daily Report.

The article, Suit: UGA Cop Fired for Following ‘Amnesty Law’ for Overdose Calls, details their representation of Jay Park, the former University of Georgia police officer who filed suit in Fulton County last week.

Read the full article featuring the AJMLS alumni duo here: Suit: UGA Cop Fired for Following ‘Amnesty Law’ for Overdose Calls

Two Alumni Selected for 2015-2016 GTLA LEAD Program Class

The Georgia Trial Lawyers Association has announced that John Marshall Law School Alumni Thomas Lyman of the Mulholland Law Firm and Kyle Moore with the Lazenby Law Group have been selected for the 2015-2016 Leadership Education & Advanced Direction (LEAD) Program. Now entering its third year, the widely-acclaimed LEAD Program serves to train and equip GTLA members who have been identified as potential leaders in the Association with the necessary tools to take the next steps in their legal careers, both in and out of the courtroom.

In order to qualify, applicants must have less than 10 years of legal practice experience or be 35 years of age or younger. After an exhaustive application review and selection process, at total of 16 attorneys were chosen to participate in the 2015-2016 GTLA LEAD Program.

“For three years now, the GTLA LEAD Program has helped identify many of the best and brightest young lawyers in our state and prepare them for long and successful careers as leaders in the courtroom, their communities and our Association. I am proud to see that tradition continue with the selection of this year’s class,” remarked Darren Penn, President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. “The qualifications of this year’s applicants were remarkable, and I am eager to work alongside this outstanding group of young leaders throughout this year’s program and for many years to come.”

The 2015-2016 LEAD Program will consist of six sessions, and begins on November 20-21 in Athens, Georgia. The program concludes with graduation at the GTLA Annual Convention & President’s Gala in Atlanta on April 28-29, 2016. Sessions will also take place in Savannah and Macon, as well as at the State Capitol and the Georgia Judicial Building.

“As graduates of the GTLA LEAD Program, we have seen first-hand the profound and lasting effects that the program can have on members’ legal careers,” continued LEAD Program Co-Chairs Jennifer Coalson and Yvonne Godfrey. “The stellar qualifications, diversity of experience and impressive professional backgrounds of this year’s applicants not only made the selection process quite difficult, but also reassured us that this program will continue to thrive for many years to come. With rising stars like Thomas and Kyle climbing the ranks of GTLA, the future of our Association is brighter than ever.”

About GTLA: Founded in 1956, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (GTLA) is dedicated to strengthening and upholding Georgia’s Civil Justice System and protecting Georgia citizens’ Constitutional Right to Trial by Jury.

Original Press Release provided by Georgia Trial Lawyers Association. Media Contact: Chris Kelleher (770) 355-6052.

Congressman Bob Barr First Speaker at 2015-2016 Professionalism Series

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Christian Legal Society and the Office of Student Services is pleased to present Congressman Bob Barr as the first speaker in the 2015-2016 Professionalism Series on Monday, September 14, 2015, at 3:15 p.m. in the Blackburn Conference Center Auditorium. Congressman Barr will be speaking on the topic of Morality and the U.S. Constitution.

Bob Barr is a former Congressman who represented the citizens of Georgia’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003. Barr is a practicing attorney, former Federal Prosecutor, and was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election.

He has taught Constitutional Law at the law school and runs a consulting firm, Liberty Strategies, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Welcomes New Faculty

Fall classes are officially underway and the law school is pleased to welcome its new and returning faculty.

 

New to Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School

Derek Alphran, Adjunct Professor

Judith Barger, Distinguished Teaching Professional

Ronald Blasi, Adjunct Professor

Sujata Chanani, Adjunct Professor

Erin Corken, Adjunct Professor

Joe Habachy, Adjunct Professor

Susan Jackson, Adjunct Professor

Michael Loudenslager, Legal Writing Professional

Keith McCrickard, Legal Writing Professional

Loren Pratt, Legal Writing Professional

Dena Sonbol, Adjunct Professor

Jennifer Spreng, Legal Writing Professional

Returning to Campus this Fall

K. Lee Adams, Associate Professor

Joanna B. Apolinsky, Associate Professor

Anthony Baker, Professor of Law

Robert Black, Adjunct Professor

Scott Boone, Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Associate Professor

Kathleen M. Burch, Professor of Law

Robert D’Agostino, Professor of Law

Kari Mercer Dalton, Associate Professor

Helen de Haven, Associate Professor

Kimberly Williams D’Haene, Assistant Dean for Academic Achievement

Jace C. Gatewood, Associate Professor

Jonathan Goins, Adjunct Professor

Howell Haunson, Adjunct Professor

Elizabeth M. Jaffe, Associate Professor

Browning Jeffries, Associate Dean of Academic Administration, Associate Professor

Honorable Willie Lovett Jr., Adjunct Professor

Michael Lynch, Director of Law Library, Professor of Law

Suparna Malempati, Associate Professor

Lance McMillian, Associate Professor

B. Michael Mears, Associate Professor

John Melvin, Adjunct Professor

Joseph Mitchell, Adjunct Professor

Stacey L. Mitchener, Adjunct Professor

Jonathan Rapping, Director of Criminal Justice Honors Program, Associate Professor

Joseph Rosen, Adjunct Professor

Stan Schoolcraft, Adjunct Professor

Heather Scribner, Adjunct Professor

Lisa Durham Taylor, Professor of Law

Lisa Tripp, Associate Professor

Jeffrey A. Van Detta, The John E. Ryan Professor of International Business and Workplace Law

Erika Walker-Cash, Director of Academic Achievement

Former Chief Justice Norman Fletcher Mentions Professor Mears While Accepting Gideon’s Promise Award

Professor Michael Mears, a former public defender and leading expert on the death penalty in Georgia, was mentioned in high regard by former Chief Justice Norman Fletcher as he accepted the Gideon’s Promise Award from the Southern Center for Human Rights.

During Fletcher’s award acceptance, he addressed Steve Bright (Southern Center’s president and senior counsel) by saying,

Steve, I am going to shock you, and probably most everyone here, for I must now admit that your criticism of my death penalty decisions was justified. For with wisdom gained over the past 10 years, I am now convinced there is absolutely no justification for continuing to impose the sentence of death in this country. In 2001 when the Georgia Supreme Court in a 4-3 decision ended the use of electrocution and turned to lethal injection as the sole means of inflicting the death sentence, a colleague remarked that Mike Mears and Steve Bright would never be satisfied until the death penalty itself was totally abolished in Georgia and in this country. Time has proved that colleague to be right, and I thank God for Mike’s and Steve’s resolve. Our death penalty system is unsupportable.

To read more of his acceptance speech, click here.

Professor Michael Mears is an Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where he teaches Evidence, Advanced Criminal Procedure, and Ethics. He is considered one of Georgia’s leading experts on the death penalty and is a frequent contributor on NPR and WPBA on the subject.

Alumnus David Lee Windecher Publishes Book, Credits Law School

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Alumnus, David Lee Windecher (’12), has chronicled his extraordinary life journey of going from defendant to defense attorney in his soon to be released book* “AmerIcan Dream: HisStory in the Making”. He hopes to utilize his personal story to inspire others to overcome challenges and pursue their dreams.

“John Marshall gave me an opportunity to redefine my life,” said David. “They believed in me. JMLS gave a poor kid from the hood an opportunity to engage his passion and realize his American dream.”

David Lee Windecher became a leader of his class at John Marshall Law School. Windecher was elected President of the Sports and Entertainment Society and was voted Peer Mentor of the Year in 2011.

Today, David Lee Windecher is a practicing criminal defense attorney at Atlanta firm Arora & LaScala and the founder of RED, Inc. (Rehabilitation Enables Dreams), a non-profit organization which sponsors GED programs for young juveniles that are facing non-violent criminal charges who are capable of rehabilitation through an education. RED, Inc.’s mission is to decrease recidivism and increase literacy amongst America’s youth.

“My career, my success… John Marshall was instrumental in it all,” said David.

Congratulations, David!

 *A book release party is planned for Thursday, May 21, 2015 in Buckhead. For more details email: americandreampress@gmail.com.

Family of Alumnus Judge G. Alan Blackburn Establish Memorial Scholarship

As printed by AJC.com on May 11, 2015:

Chief Judge Gerald Alan Blackburn, 76, of Marietta, died on May 9, 2015. He was born May 6, 1939 in East Bend, North Carolina. After serving four years on active duty in the United States Air Force, returned to Atlanta and entered John Marshall Law School and later received his LLM degree from the Virginia School of Law. He engaged in the private practice for twenty years and served as Administrative Law Judge for the Georgia Department of Medical Assistance, before being elected to the Court of Appeals in 1992. He was a member of the Georgia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Georgia Association of Administrative Law Judges; the American Bar Association, State Bar of Georgia, and the Cobb County Bar Association. He served as chairman of the Cobb County Salvation Army Advisory Board; chairman of the Board of Directors of New Horizons Ministries and served on the Board of Directors of the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse- Ga Chapter. Survivors include his wife, Linda Blackburn and their four children, Daughters, Jennifer (Ralph) Alewine, Merideth (Dylan) Manning, Elizabeth (Evan) Watkins; Son, Christopher Blackburn; and Grandchild, Ward Manning. Other surviving daughters include, Susan Winger, Jackie Carver, Sandra Blackburn and their families. The funeral will be at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church on May 13, 2015 at 11 am with a reception following the service. Interment will be at 1:30 pm in Arlington Memorial Park. In lieu of flowers, please make a contribution to Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumni Association/ Judge Blackburn Scholarship 1422 W. Peachtree St., Atlanta Ga 30309, where a building has been named in his honor. Sandy Springs Chapel is overseeing the arrangements. 

Professor Jonathan Rapping Speaks at Bold Moves TEDx Talk

Professor Jonathan Rapping, Director of the Criminal Justice Honors Program and 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow, spoke at the April 28, 2015 Bold Moves TEDx Atlanta talk.

TEDx described the Bold Moves event on their website,

What’s a bold move and why does it matter? It’s a challenge to go where you’ve never gone before. It’s the sounding of a wake-up call that draws attention to a situation or shows a different way forward. Without them it becomes ever more difficult to initiate much needed change in our lives and communities. With TEDxAtlanta 2015 we’ll explore bold moves from individuals and organizations who are providing ideas and platforms that shift our thinking and calls to actions in impactful ways—through their courage, conviction and commitment.

Professor Rapping spoke of his organization, Gideon’s Promise, and how it is inspiring a new generation of public defenders facing “the nation’s greatest civil rights issue today” – the tragic shortage of representation for those who can’t afford a lawyer.

You may view the video in its entirety on YouTube here.

Marc Reece Inducted into Southern Polytechnic State University Athletics Hall of Fame

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Marc Reece, current College Relations Manager, who was recently inducted into the Southern Polytechnic State University’s Athletics Hall of Fame.

The university created the first-ever Athletics Hall of Fame to celebrate the accomplishments of its greatest student-athletes, coaches, special contributors and teams over the past six-plus decades of intercollegiate competition.

Reece was part of three NAIA Division I national tournament teams (Sweet 16 in 2005 and 2006); saw action in 98 games over his career, improving his scoring and rebounding averages each season; shot 52.3 percent from the field in 2003-04 and 53.3 percent the following year; worked in SPSU’s admissions office from 2007-12; appeared in the reality competition television program Pros vs. Joes on Spike TV in 2009 (vs. former NBA stars Shawn Kemp, Eddie Jones and Ron Harper) and BET’s College Hill Interns in 2007; former secretary/treasurer of the Southern Poly Athletic Association; B.S. in business administration.

Marc Reece has served the Office of Admissions as College Relations Manager since 2012.

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Atlanta’s John Marshall to Offer International Business Transactions (IBT 810) Online Summer 2015

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce that Associate Dean for Scholarship and the John E. Ryan Professor of International Business & Workplace Law, Jeffrey A. Van Detta, will open his upper-division elective course– International Business Transactions (IBT 810) online this summer to visiting law students.

The online learning community is not new to Dean Van Detta as he has taught the online course since 2008 and has educated over 150 law students from around the world via the online platform. The course picks up where Contracts II leaves off–and explores a number of interesting, cutting edge areas, while giving students the opportunity to create real-world client deliverables in the context of a course-long client scenario.

IBT 810 will have 3-hour class meetings held entirely online, using the Live Discussion feature of TWEN (which creates a written transcript of each session). The class is scheduled to meet online from 6:15 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the Summer Session. The course contains graded projects (both individual and team)–no final examination.

The value to visiting students is to be able to take the entire course online, and do so in the convenience of the location of their own choosing — whether in New York, any other U.S. state, or any other country or continent!

Eligible students will have completed their first year of law school coursework, full-time, at an ABA-approved law school. Students should also check their own school’s policies to see exactly what they need to do to have their credit for this course transfer. The course will be billed at a rate of $1,270 per credit hour. Visiting law students that will need financial aid will need to get with their financial aid office (at originating law school) to arrange a consortium agreement.

Interested students please contact the Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Scott Boone at sboone@johnmarshall.edu.

Questions about the course may be directed to Dean Jeffrey A. Van Detta at jvandetta@johnmarshall.edu.

To apply – complete the visiting student application found on our website and submit to the Office of Admissions via email (admissions@johnmarshall.edu) or fax (404) 581-5565.

Professor Lisa Tripp Writes Opinion Piece on Euro Crisis for CNN

Professor Lisa Tripp’s expertise in Greece, the Eurozone and the U.S. healthcare system has led her to become a frequent guest and contributor to CNN. Tripp’s recent opinion piece, Greece the only villain in euro crisis? Don’t believe it!, is paraphrased below. The full article may be read online here.

Europe is in the midst of a political and economic crisis that threatens to unravel decades of European integration and derail the world’s recovery from the great recession.

Because Spain and Greece cannot devalue the euro, the only way they can become competitive is through internal devaluation. This means Greece and Spain are in for years of high unemployment, reduced living standards, falling wages and deflation. In other words, massive impoverization.

Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, famously said: “The euro is forever.” That may or may not be so, but it doesn’t mean that countries like Greece and Spain should stay in the euro forever. Contrary to popular opinion, this crisis cannot be explained away with a moral tale of Greek fiscal irresponsibility. The facts suggest otherwise.

Lisa Tripp is an Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Atlanta Georgia. She teaches Health Care Law, Torts and Remedies.

Dean Renata D. Turner Appointed Associate Judge for Fulton County Juvenile Court

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Assistant Dean Renata D. Turner, current Magistrate Judge in Fulton County, who has recently been appointed as Fulton County’s next Associate Juvenile Court Judge.

Fulton County Juvenile Court is the largest such court in Georgia and amongst the largest in the Southeast, with over 6,500 cases handled in 2014. In fulfilling the role of an Associate Judge, Judge Turner will hear a variety of court proceedings, conduct adjudications and refer children to the Court’s many diversion and rehabilitative programs, such as The Learning Club, Juvenile Drug Court and Family Dependency Treatment Court.

Judge Turner’s career and leadership at the law school began in 2007 and grew from Associate Professor to Director of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships to her most recent post as Assistant Dean for Pro Bono and Experiential Learning.

Under her leadership, the law school has been recognized and awarded such honors as:
The Community Outreach Award at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Community Outreach Awards Ceremony (December 2014), for the work done by the law school’s Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning.
• Named among the best law schools for practical training (National Jurist, 2014), which is awarded for efforts to provide students with a quality and in-depth variety of pro bono and externship opportunities.
• Ranked among the top 25 law school for externships (preLaw Magazine, 2013), in recognition of maximizing opportunities for students through experiential learning.

“I’m both honored and humbled by this new opportunity- honored to be entrusted with providing justice for our children and humbled by the magnitude of that responsibility,” said Judge Turner about her upcoming role as Associate Judge for Fulton County Juvenile Court.

The Office of Pro Bono Outreach and Experiential Learning will continue to serve the Atlanta community and produce impactful programs, developed over the course of Judge Turner’s career at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School:

  • Street Law – Based on the curriculum of the national non-profit, Street Law teaches high school students about constitutional and legal issues that directly impact their lives. The law school partners with the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District and Booker T. Washington High School each spring to teach legal issues to students.
  • Youth Law Summit – Day-long workshop presented in partnership with the Gate City Bar Association that introduces minority middle and high school students to the law through an examination of emerging issues.
  • Reentry Forum – The law school partners with individuals, agencies and organizations that support prisoner reentry efforts to help formerly incarcerated men and women transition back into society.

Judge Turner currently serves on the Fulton County Child Advocates Board, is a member of the Charles Weltner Family Law Inn of Court, as well as a current member and past president of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA).

Professor Michael Mears Quoted by AJC’s Bill Torpy About Last Meals on Death Row

Professor Michael Mears was quoted by Bill Torpy of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in his recent column that discussed the last meal of death row inmate, Kelly Renee Gissendaner, as well as the history of the last meal ritual. Just last month, Mears also appeared on GPB Radio to discuss Georgia’s death penalty law and the execution of mentally disabled persons.

The column,  A double voyeur, with macabre on the side, quotes:

Georgia defense attorney Mike Mears said some prisoners order as much as they can to jerk around the system. “It’s their last act of defiance.”

“Others order food that had good memories with families,” said Mears, who has been involved with 167 death penalty cases and had six clients die. “It’s probably the last pleasure they will ever experience.”

Many of the meals, Mears said, come from a truck stop near Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. Comfort food is the norm. Most on death row don’t have much experience with fancy foods. Treadwell said double burgers seem to be far and away the choice of the doomed.

But, Mears said, it wasn’t always just the prisoners digging in.

In the 198os, Mears discovered that the Corrections Department produced a spread for those involved in the execution. One inventory included of 10 pounds of Turkey Ham, 20 pounds of Turkey Pastrami, 10 pounds of Turkey Salami, and 225 pounds of chicken. The menu also included pounds of pimento cheese, trays of hors d’oeuvres and cheese straws.

“The prisoner gets it before the execution,” Mears said. “The guards get it after.”

You may read the full column online here.

Alumna Sherri Jefferson Awarded FDHA Healthcare Champions Chairman Award & 11Alive CSA

Atlanta’s John Marshall Alumna, Sherri Jefferson (’95), was recently award the Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority (FDHA) Champions Chairman Award, as well as the 11Alive Community Service Award in 2014.

On Sunday, December 7th, the Fulton DeKalb Hospital Authority hosted its healthcare champions’ awards ceremony at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. It was the third year for the event and more than 200 people attended. Jefferson received recognition for founding the African American Juvenile Project. Her acceptance speech may be viewed here.

Additionally, Jefferson received the 11Alive Community Service Award in May 2014. Her acceptance speech may be viewed here.

Office of Academic Achievement Spring 2015 Calendar

PDF of Office of Academic Achievement Spring 2015 Calendar

Date Time Event
Thursday, February 26, 2015 12:00 p.m.-1 p.m.

5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

3L/4L GeneralBarTalk

Room 609

Saturday, February 28, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours
Thursday, March 5, 2015 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Bar Examination Overview Georgia Office ofBarAdmissions Presenter:Leigh Burgess

AttendanceMandatoryforMay Graduates

 

Spring 2013graduates

BlackburnConferenceCenter

Saturday, March 7, 2015 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. MPRE Workshop

Prof. Boone

Saturday, March 7, 2015 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. 3LBarEssayWriting Workshop for

May Graduates

   

Friday-Sunday, March 27-29, 2015 Friday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Saturday: 1:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

Sunday: 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

 

 3LMultistate BarExamination (MBE) Workshop for May 2015 Graduates

 

Saturday, March 28, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours
Saturday, April 11, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours
Saturday, April 25, 20,15 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Office Hours

SBA to Host Masquerade Barrister’s Ball at Opera Nightclub, April 11

Each spring the Student Bar Association hosts the Barrister’s Ball for the law school community as an opportunity to take a break from classes and enjoy an evening socializing with classmates, professors, alumni and friends. This year will be no different as the SBA will hold this year’s ball at Opera Nightclub on April 11, 2015 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This year, students, faculty and staff tickets are free. Guest and alumni tickets will be on sale for $20. There is no RSVP needed to attend, but attendees will be required to pick up their tickets and pay for guests tickets prior to the day of the event. Ticket tables will be held in the lobby from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on:

  • March 25th
  • March 30th
  • March 31st
  • April 1st
  • April 6th

The theme for this year will be masquerade. For more information, please contact SBA Secretary Meaghan Eustice at maeustice@johnmarshall.edu.

Professor Lisa Tripp Discusses Future of Greek Economy on CNN

Prior to the polls coming to a close in Greece’s recent election, Professor Lisa Tripp spoke with CNN’s Jonathan Mann via Skype to discuss the future of the country’s economy.

After the election, Tripp joined CNN’s Amara Walker and Michael Holmes on CNN Today to weigh-in on the new Prime Minister’s economic challenges.

Lisa Tripp is an Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, Atlanta Georgia. She teaches Health Care Law, Torts and Remedies. Professor Tripp practiced health care law and commercial litigation prior to joining the faculty of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School in 2006. As an attorney for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Professor Tripp focused primarily on long term care enforcement. She litigated many cases involving physical and sexual abuse, elopements, falls, neglect and substandard quality of care. Professor Tripp currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Leadership Council of The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care. She has served on health quality measurement committees and panels for the National Quality Forum and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Professor Tripp received her law degree, with honors, from George Washington University Law School, in Washington, D.C.

You may view a sample of the CNN Today discussion on our Facebook page, linked below:

 

Alumna Tiffany Jones Ellenberg Sworn in to the Governor’s Indigent Advisory Panel

Tiffany Jones Ellenberg, ’98, was recently sworn in to the Governor’s Indigent Advisory Panel by Governor Nathan Deal. This special committee monitors the progress and funding for Georgia’s Public Defender Standards Council and works in conjunction with the Advisory Committee on Legislation, the Executive Committee and the Board of Governors to provide advice, expertise and advocacy on behalf of systemic reform designed to satisfy the State’s constitutional obligation to provide adequate counsel for indigent persons accused of crime.

While serving on the committee, Ms. Ellenberg will maintain her private law practice in Madison, Georgia, where she handles primarily litigation cases.

Congratulations, Tiffany!

Professor Michael Mears Appears on GPB Radio to Discuss Georgia’s Death Penalty Law

Professor Michael Mears appeared as a guest on the GPB Radio program On Second Thought (hosted by Celeste Headlee) on Tuesday, January 27.

Mears discussed the history of Georgia’s death penalty law and the execution of mentally disabled persons. The timely discussion was prompted by the scheduled [Tuesday] execution of Georgia inmate, Warren Lee Hill. Also covered on the show was the history of Georgia legislation, as it pertains to the death penalty, and the high standard which a person must overcome in order to prove that they are indeed mentally disabled.

You can listen to the segment online here.

Professor Mears served for over 15 years as a criminal defense attorney before joining the John Marshall faculty in 2007. His practice was dedicated to indigent defense, and he served as lead counsel in over sixty death penalty trial and appellate cases since 1984. Professor Mears was appointed as Director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council in 2004, and served from 1992 to 2003 as a Multi-County Public Defender for the Georgia Indigent Defense Council. Prior to entering his public defender practice, Professor Mears was the Partner-in-Charge of Litigation at McCurdy & Candler, a firm specializing in civil and banking law. In 2007, he was appointed as Co-Chair of the State Bar of Georgia’s Indigent Defense Committee and as a member of the Post-Conviction Capital Representation Committee.

Professor Patrice Fulcher Quoted in The Economist

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School congratulates Professor Patrice Fulcher, who has been quoted in a headline article in the 24 January 2015 issue of The Economist.

Patrice Fulcher is a Tenured Associate Professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School where she teaches Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure. Her scholarship focuses on issues surrounding the Prison Industrial Complex; prison privatization, the exploitation of prison laborers, the effects of the utilization of prison video visitation systems, and other profiteering schemes that benefit from mass incarceration in the U.S. Professor Fulcher has dedicated her entire career to the fight for equality of all disenfranchised people, and quality representation for the poor.

The article, Conditions Behind Bars: Screening Visitors–Prisons Profit By Stopping Family Visits, quotes:

Complications may arise from all this. Lawyers may claim that communicating with their clients only through video calls is a violation of due process, says Patrice Fulcher of John Marshall Law School. The possibility of recording such conversations could also lead to the leaking of privileged information. “This whole situation exploits people on the inside and their families on the outside,” Ms Fulcher says. 

For six years, Professor Fulcher organized and chaired the AJMLS’s Fred Gray Social Justice Seminar. In 2011 she was recognized for her outstanding and impactful service to the law school and legal community.

Prior to joining AJMLS in 2007, she served as a Senior Staff Attorney for the Georgia Capital Defender and the Fulton County Public Defender offices. She was a Senior Staff Attorney for the Fulton County Conflict Defender, and worked in the Felony Trial Division of the Georgia Indigent Defense Council. She has successfully represented indigent clients facing the death penalty as well as all other major felony and misdemeanor offenses. Additionally, Professor Fulcher has provided representation and research for abused and neglected children with the DeKalb County Georgia Juvenile Court, and litigated against unconstitutional jail conditions and practices with the Southern Center for Human Rights. She is a core instructor for Gideon’s Promise (formerly known as The Southern Public Defender Training Center), and has been a litigation instructor for The Kentucky Death Penalty Institute, The Mississippi Office of the State Public Defender Training Division, The Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, The Fulton County Public Defender Office, and the American Bar Association NACDL National Defender Training Program.

Professor Fulcher has lectured extensively on mass incarceration and the Prison Industrial Complex across the U.S. (including the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico), the erosion of the 4th Amendment, capital defense, juveniles charged as adults, client-centered representation, successful defense trial investigations, and effective storytelling techniques for public defenders. In 2014, she was asked to provide an expert opinion to the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on the adequate criminal procedure for congressional contempt proceedings.

Professor Fulcher received her B.A. from Howard University in 1992, and her J.D. from Emory University School of Law in 1995.

LL.M. Alumna Christina Harris Schwinn Published in Northeastern University Law Journal

LL.M. in Employment Law alumna Christina Harris Schwinn has been published in the Northeastern University Law Journal. The article was adopted from Schwinn’s LL.M. thesis. The article on overtime compensation authored by the Pavese Law Firm partner is titled, “Half-Time or Time and One-Half? Recent Developments Deprive Employees of their Rightful Overtime Compensation Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.” The article discusses the legislative history and the applicable statutory provisions and regulations, as well as analyzes the Seventh Circuits holding in the *Urnikis-Negro *decision. The case involved the payment of overtime compensation based upon half-time to the plaintiff essentially retroactive in an exempt misclassification case under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, 29 U.S.C.

Schwinn’s asserts that the application of the fluctuating workweek methodology of paying the overtime in a misclassification case is improper, and is not authorized under the FLSA, its regulations, interpretive bulletins or under the United States Supreme Court’s holding in *Overnight Motor Transp. Co., Inc. v. Missel*, 316 U.S. 572, 62 S.Ct. 1216 (1942).

“While much about business and employment has changed in the movement from the industrial age that existed in the 1930s to the technological age of today, the underlying purposes of the FLSA have not,” Schwinn concluded in the article. “Congress passed the FLSA to ensure that covered employ­ees were paid the minimum wage, to ensure they were compensated for overtime work, and to encourage employers to hire new employ­ees rather than working existing employees long hours.”

Schwinn received her second Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School on May 19. The LL.M. degree is an advanced law degree with a focus on a particular practice area. Schwinn’s second LL.M. is in Employment Law and her first LL.M. is in Real Property Land Development and Finance Law which she received from the University of Miami’s Graduate School of Law in 1991.

Schwinn’s primary practice areas are employment law, business transactions, community association law and real estate law. Schwinn is an accomplished public speaker and regularly writes articles that have been published both locally and nationally in a variety of publications. Schwinn is available to speak to local businesses and organizations on a variety of employment law topics and she can be reached at 239-336-6228 or christinaschwinn@paveselaw.com.

AJMLS Honored at the U.S. Attorney’s Office with Community Outreach Award

This week, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School was recognized at the U.S. Attorney’s Office Community Outreach Awards Ceremony for the work done by the law school’s Office Pro Bono and Experiential Learning. The department attended the event where they received the Community Outreach Award from Loranzo Fleming, Assistant U.S. Attorney & Community Outreach Coordinator and Sally Yates, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

The Community Outreach Awards are intended to recognize individuals and community partners who have been exceptionally supportive of the office’s community outreach programs over the past two years. Yates acknowledged the important role Renata Turner, Bridgett Ortega, and Natasha Berry have played in the areas of reentry and crime prevention.The Pro Bono and Experiential Learning department was also recognized for their Street Law program at Booker T. Washington High School which teaches practical law to high school students using interactive teaching methodologies. The department was further acknowledged for their Home for Good Reentry Forum which assists citizens returning from prison in overcoming legal barriers to reentry.

Congratulations to the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning for making such a noticeable impact in the community.

Mass Swearing In Ceremony on November 5, 2014

The Alumni Office held a mass swearing in ceremony for the July 2014 bar exam passers and other AJMLS alumni on November 5, 2014. The Alumni were sworn into the Supreme Court of Georgia and Fulton County Superior Court.  They were honored to be sworn in by Justice Carol Hunstein of the Supreme Court and Judge T. Jackson Bedford of the Fulton County Superior Court.  There was a reception for friends and family held after the ceremony.  Here are the pictures from the event that can be downloaded for personal use. If you have any questions about the event, please contact the Alumni Office.

[ngg_images gallery_ids=”2″ display_type=”photocrati-nextgen_basic_thumbnails”]

John Marshall BLSA Chapter Donate Time and Food to the Atlanta Community Food Bank

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s Black Law Students Association (BLSA), in conjunction with the SBA, recently donated over 440 pounds of non-perishable items to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. The staff at the food bank was overjoyed at the sizable donation and expressed their gratitude for the students and staff who worked tirelessly to collect cans for a great cause.

Additionally, the John Marshall BLSA chapter was recognized by the Southern Region of the National Black Law Students Association (SRBLSA) for its work in the community. During their annual Academic Retreat, SRBLSA reported that the AJMLS chapter contributed the largest amount of canned goods in the entire region. The BLSA executive board would like to thank all who contributed to this wonderful cause. For more information on BLSA, visit the Student Organizations page of the website. The Atlanta Community Food Bank is always looking for volunteers and donations. More information about this organization is available on their website.

Four AJMLS Students Receive GABWA Scholarships

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to announce that four students recently received scholarships from the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA). The GABWA Foundation is committed to providing scholarships to black women attending Georgia law schools to insure that the pipeline of black women entering the legal profession remains strong. Since 2002, the GABWA Foundation has awarded over $250,000 in scholarships to African-American women law students.

Be sure to congratulate the following students for being awarded GABWA scholarships:

Uchenna Mary-Anne Uzoka, 3L
Christle Guinyard, 2L
Yesenia Muhammad, 3L
Amber Reed, 3L

The students will receive their scholarships at the GABWA Honors Brunch on December 13, 2014. For more information on GABWA and how to qualify for a GABWA scholarship, visit their website.

AJMLS Students Advance to Final Round at 2014 Regional ABA Negotiations Competition

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently sent two teams to compete in the 2014 Regional ABA Negotiations Competition at Mercer University. The competition consisted of two preliminary rounds where the teams negotiated two fact patterns received in the weeks leading up to the competition. Following the conclusion of the two preliminary rounds, the competition pool was reduced from 24 teams to four. The law school is pleased to announce that the team of Robert Rentfrow (1L) and Jeff Sayer (2L) was one of the four teams, together with three teams from Florida International University, to advance to the final round.

This is the third time in the past four years that John Marshall has placed a team in the final round of the Regional ABA Negotiations Competition. This is a great accomplishment for The Boardroom and the law school as a whole. The team would like to specially thank alumnus Ben Stidham who competed in the 2012 Regional ABA Negotiations Competition. Ben generously donated his time and experience to work with the team on this year’s problem and traveled with the team to Macon the day of the competition. The law school is extremely privileged to have such devoted alumni who continue to support the school and its students.

Congratulations again to Robert and Jeff on this outstanding accomplishment and their wonderful representation of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

John Marshall Ranked 4th Most Diverse Law School by National Jurist

Providing a diverse learning environment for students is important to the faculty and administration at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. While this diversity enriches the academic environment, it also challenges the law school to meet the educational needs of students, many of whom are either returning to the rigors of an academic experience, or are simply seeking a supportive environment for the study of law. Therefore, it is a great honor for the National Jurist to name Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School the fourth most diverse law school in the nation in their winter issue. Other top diverse law schools joining John Marshall on the list are Texas Southern University (1), University of the District of Columbia (2), University of La Verne (3), and Florida A&M University (5). In the article, National Jurist explained how the rankings were determined.

“We broke down each school into six categories – percentage of minority faculty; percentage of black students; percentage of Asian and Hawaiian students; percentage of Hispanic students; percentage of American Indian students; and percentage of Caucasian students. We assigned each school a score from one to 10 for all categories, except for American Indians. We assigned each school a score from one to five for that category, given the much smaller number of students.

A school that matched the U.S. national average for any race received a seven (or 3.5 for American Indian), and a school that was 30 percent or greater than the national average received a 10 (or 5 for American Indian). We then weighted the student categories as 75 percent of the final diversity score and faculty at 25 percent. The final outcome is a list of schools that have a breadth of races both in student bodies and faculties.”

The full article gives prospective students and law schools a detailed look into what socioeconomic factors have caused an increase in black and Hispanic students while simultaneously creating a decline in white and Asian students. Regardless of the trend, a diverse law school should offer more than just ethnic diversity. At Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, the student population are also diverse in life experiences and professional background. A well-rounded understanding of diversity allows John Marshall to continue producing practice-ready, ethical, and knowledgeable members of the legal community.

For more on the various programs the law school provided, view our program offerings.

State Bar President Speaks to First Year Students

Perkins HookerPresident of the State Bar of Georgia, Patrise Perkins-Hooker, accepted an invitation from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School and spoke to approximately 100 first year law students. The program was the final installment of the Atlanta’s John Marshall Fall Professionalism Series and was held on Friday, November 7th, 2014, from 1 P.M. – 2 P.M. at the Blackburn Conference Center . The topic discussed was “Your Professional Obligation to Give Back to Your Community. ”

The Professionalism Series is part of the law school’s ongoing effort to help students establish good practices and high ethical standards early in their training.  It is also an opportunity for them to meet practitioners and members of the judiciary who exemplify the ideals of the profession.

Patrise M. Perkins-Hooker, vice president and general counsel of Atlanta BeltLine Inc., was installed as president-elect of the 45,000-member State Bar of Georgia on June 22 during the organization’s Annual Meeting.

Having previously served on the Board of Governors and Executive Committee and as secretary (2011-12) and treasurer (2012-13), she will become the first African American and the third woman to serve as president of the State Bar of Georgia in its 50-year history when she is sworn into that office in June 2014.

Perkins-Hooker is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and the Emory University Law and Business Schools. She is very active in community work, serving and/or leading many community organizations, including Hosea Feed the Hungry, an organization that serves hungry, homeless, and other disadvantaged citizens. She was admitted to the Bar in 1984.

AJMLS Welcomes Exchange Scholar Professor John Travis Marshall to Speak

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School welcomes Exchange Scholar from Georgia State University (GSU) College of Law, Professor John Travis Marshall to the law school for an engaging and in-depth discussion surrounding issues on environmental law. Professor Marshall will speak at the law school on October 22, 2014 at 3 p.m. in the Blackburn Conference Center and present his paper entitled, Assessing Metropolitan Resiliency: Laying The Foundation For Urban Sustainability Under Threat Of Climate Change And Natural Hazards. Students interested in environmental law, land-use planning and law, and/or state-local government law are invited to attend.

Professor Marshall is an Assistant Professor of Law at GSU.  He is interested in the challenges associated with the growth and contraction of urban areas. In particular, Professor Marshall studies private, nonprofit and government interventions to promote long-term urban recovery from crises and disasters.  In his work at the university, he is also a key player in GSU’s interdisciplinary Center for the Comparative Study on Metropolitan Growth.

Professor Marshall joined GSU from Yale Law School, where he was a clinical lecturer in law and the Ludwig Community Development Fellow. From 2007 to 2011, he was a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow with the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA). In that role, Professor Marshall advised NORA on post-Hurricane Katrina implementation of the Authority’s urban revitalization efforts, including land acquisition, development, and disposition programs.

Prior to his work in New Orleans, Professor Marshall was a partner with Holland & Knight LLP, specializing in land use and zoning matters as well as real estate litigation. Following law school, he served as a law clerk to U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Jenkins, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Professor Marshall earned a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, an M.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, and a J.D. from the University of Florida College of Law. He teaches Environmental Law and Land Use Law.

AJMLS Shines at Atlanta Bar Association’s Celebrating Service Luncheon

The Atlanta Bar Association recently held its annual Celebrating Service Luncheon and Pro Bono Fair at the Piedmont Driving Club where Professor Jonathan Rapping was the keynote speaker. The occasion celebrated the best volunteer work and programs from Atlanta’s three largest pro bono legal service organizations: the Atlanta Bar Association, Atlanta Legal Aid Society and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation. Founded by Hunton & Williams partner and past Atlanta Bar president Rita Sheffey, the event was designed to publicly recognize individuals in the legal community who dedicate themselves to serving others.

John Marshall alumni Nilufar Abdi-Tabari was one of many award recipients at the Celebrating Service Luncheon. She received the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation Safe Families Champion of the Year award. Also, the law school is proud to mention that AJMLS was recognized for being the only law school with 100 percent faculty membership in the Atlanta Bar Association. A full list of award recipients can be found on the Daily Report’s website.

AJMLS Alumnus and Professor Quoted in AJC on Immigration

When it comes to the debate on U.S. immigration; neither U.S. Rep Doug Collins (Class of 2008) or Professor Joseph Rosen are strangers to the discussion.

In an article recently published by the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC), both Collins and Rosen, along with several other law professors were given the opportunity to share their views on revamping the nation’s immigration system.

The article quotes Professor Rosen, who teaches Immigration Law at AJMLS, as saying; “This is the opportunity for the president through executive action, and (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) attorneys through prosecutorial discretion, to do the right thing. It is time for America to show the compassion and justice that are the foundations of this country.”

Prior to serving the 9th District of Georgia, Collins earned his law degree from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School over his first term representing District 27 in the Georgia House of Representatives, and has also served the community as the senior pastor at Chicopee Baptist Church.

Prior to founding the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group, Professor Rosen served more than 30 years with the U.S. government. For 20 of those years Joe was an FBI Special Agent and a U.S. Customs Special Agent. Rosen is an Adjunct Professor of Law at John Marshall Law School (teaching Immigration Law, Seminar: Asylum & Refugee Law), past President of the North Fulton Bar Association, a former contract legal instructor with the U.S. government, and a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

You may click here to view the article in its entirety.

AJMLS Celebrates Pro Bono Month This October

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and the Office of Pro Bono Outreach and Externships (PBOE) celebrates Pro Bono Month this October as part of Georgia’s Pro Bono Month and National Pro Bono Week.

Year round, the AJMLS Pro Bono Program reinforces the mission of the law school – promoting the development of a student body and faculty with a strong social conscious and dedication to improving the legal system and society.

Highlighted October Events & Opportunities

Would you like to coach a high school Mock Trial Team?

Please attend the informational meeting on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 1:00PM in Room 302 or email Travis Foreman at toforeman@johnmarshall.edu.

Home for Good: Overcoming Legal barriers to Reentry Team

Meets every Wednesday in Room 302 at 5:15PM.

Guns Rights and Wrongs: Balancing the Interests

Monday, October 6, 2014, 4:00PM-7:00PM

Blackburn Conference Center Auditorium and Reception Hall, 1405 Spring Street, Atlanta, GA 30309

School Discipline Legal Workshop

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Gwinnett

12 Bethesda Church Road in Lawrenceville, Saturday, October 11, 2014, 10:00AM-12:30PM

Gwinnett Sexual Assault Center & Children’s Advocacy Center (GSAC-CAC)

Is looking for students to assist attorneys assisting victims of sexual assault. Interested students should contact Ms. Seterria Brodnex, Victim Assistance Attorney: 770-497-9122 Ext. 31.

Additional Information & Contacts

Approved Placements

Pro Bono FAQ

Judge Renata Turner, Assistant Dean of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning

rturner@johnmarshall.edu

Bridgett Ortega, Assistant Director of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning

bortega@johnmarshall.edu

 

The Honorable Wendell Willard Visits John Marshall

The Honorable Wendell Willard, Chairman of the Georgia House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, recently visited Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School to speak to Professor Michael Mears’ Evidence class.

State Representative Willard led a decade long fight to have the model rules of evidence adopted in Georgia. It was largely through his efforts that Georgia adopted the rules, before being signed into law by Governor Deal. While at the law school, he spoke Mears’ class of about 80 students about the successful  efforts to adopt the new model rules which became effective on January 1, 2013. Willard is also a member of the Georgia House of Representatives Rules Committee and the City Attorney for Sandy Springs, GA.

The law school was honored to have Mr. Willard on our campus to speak with our students. For more information on the State Representative Wendell Willard, visit the Georgia House of Representatives website. Information on Professor Mears is available on his faculty profile.

Almuna Tracee Benzo Receives ‘Top’ Honor from Atlanta Business League

The law school is pleased to announce that alumna, Tracee Benzo was named one of Atlanta Business League’s Top 100 Women of  Influence for 2014. For years the Atlanta Business League has recognized African-American female business owners, professionals, community and civic leaders in Metropolitan Atlanta. In 1994, the organization began publishing its list of influential African-American women in hopes of educating and inspiring the next generation of female leaders. 

The list reflects the names of black women in the metro Atlanta community who have reached senior level positions within their profession, are leading entrepreneurs in their industry or have attained the ability to influence large public bodies politically and in government.

Being named one of Atlanta Business League’s ‘top’ women of the year is a testament to Tracee Benzo’s dedication and service to the community she practices and lives in. Currently, Benzo is a partner at Hasner Law where she serves injured workers and accident victims across the state of Georgia. After graduating from the law school in 2008, Benzo became an active member of the John Marshall Law School Alumni Board and was one of two alumni to receive the school’s Distinguished Alumni award in 2014. She is also the President of the Georgia Association of Black Women Attorneys (GABWA).

Congratulations once again to Tracee Benzo for having her work recognized by the Atlanta Business League!

Professor Tripp, Guest Speaker on FOX Business Channel

FOX Business channel recently aired a news segment featuring Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Lisa Tripp. Professor Tripp was a guest on MONEY with Melissa Francis discussing amongst a panel of experts the referendum in Scotland and their currency options if they chose independence . She was contacted by FOX based on her recent article, Lessons for Scotland from Greece’s Euro Tragedy, which explored what Scotland can learn from Greece’s euro tragedy. “This article focuses on the risks small nations can face in a currency union, as told through the prism of Greece’s experience in the Eurozone,” says Tripp. Her article is available for download via the Social Science Research Network. More information on Professor Tripp can be found on her faculty profile. Congratulations to Professor Tripp on her first appearance on national television.

Professor Mears Discusses Ethics at Georgia Public Defenders Council Lecture

Professor Michael Mears was recently asked to prepare and present a course and lecture for the Georgia Public Defenders Council entitled Ethics for Public Defenders. The Council subsequently decided to use Mears’ presentation as a statewide webinar lecture on ethics, as well as a learning tool on the Council’s YouTube channel.

The one-hour lecture has already been used by over 400 public defenders and it is expected that the viewer list will continue to grow. The engaging and insightful lecture is available below. More information about Professor Mears can be found on his faculty profile.

Results: SBA Representative Elections

The Student Bar Association at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School would like to thank the entire student body for taking the time out of their busy schedules to participate in the 2014-2015 SBA Representative Elections. The votes have been counted and the winners are as follows:

  • 1L Section A Representatives: Hayley Settles and Victoria Arzu
  • 1L Section B Representatives: Jessica Gomez and Sara Wardlow
  • 1L Part Time Evening Representatives: Megan McCulloch and Shaquana Ellison
  • 1L Criminal Justice Honors Representative: Callie Adams
  • 2L Full Time Representatives: Travis Foreman and Sarah Metz
  • 2L Part Time Representatives: Lynda Parks and Alicia Thompson
  • 3L Full Time Representatives: Danielle Douglas and Essence Beal
  • 3L Part Time Representative: Michelle Reilly
  • 4L Part Time Representative: Chantiel Bell

On behalf of the law school, congratulations to those who were elected! Students are free to contact either the SBA Executive Board or the appropriate class representative with questions or concerns as the primary objective of the SBA is to articulate the views of the student body to the administration and faculty. For more information on the SBA or other student organizations at the law school, visit the Student Organizations page.

Professor Jonathan Rapping Named MacArthur Genius Fellow

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is honored to announce that Professor Jonathan Rapping was named a 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellow for the impact his non-profit organization, Gideon’s Promise, has made on society. The MacArthur Fellow Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. Dean of the law school, Malcolm L Morris, expressed to the entire John Marshall community, “This is a momentous honor and his dedication should serve as an inspiration to us all.”

In 2007, Rapping created the Southern Public Defender Training Center, subsequently renamed Gideon’s Promise. Named after the landmark 1963 Supreme Court case Gideon v. Wainwright, Gideon’s Promise teaches public defenders to work more effectively within the judicial system by providing coaching, training, and professional development as well as a supportive network of peers and mentors from around the country. The growth Gideon’s Promise has experienced since its founding is due to the vision and dedication of Professor Rapping. The organization has grown from a single training program for 16 attorneys in two offices in Georgia and Louisiana, to a multi-tiered enterprise with over 300 participants in more than 35 offices across 15 states.

While Professor Rapping’s work with Gideon’s Promise has been revolutionary in training and improving the nation’s public defenders, the MacArthur Foundations insists that the fellowship “is not a reward for past accomplishments, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential.” The MacArthur Genius Fellow Program is intended to encourage recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“I can’t imagine a greater personal honor, nor a more significant validation of the work mission of Gideon’s Promise and the amazing work of everyone in this community,” says Rapping.

This year, Professor Rapping established a partnership with the Maryland Office of the Public Defender, marking the first time the Gideon’s Promise model will be integrated into a statewide defender system. The MacArthur Foundation states that “Rapping’s effective and replicable model of teaching, mentorship, and professional networking is an innovative prescription for equitable legal defense and is safeguarding the essential democratic right of every American to high-quality legal representation regardless of ability to pay.”

Professor Rapping shares this accomplishment with poets, mathematicians, musicians, computer scientists, filmmakers, and more from around the world. For additional information on Rapping and the other 2014 MacArthur Genius Fellows can be found on their website. Once again, congratulations to Professor Jonathan Rapping for inspiring and impacting the world in such a meaningful way.

 

Pro Bono Assistant Director to Speak at 10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is proud to announce that Bridgett E. Ortega, Assistant Director for the Office of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning, will speak at the Accountability Courts Conference. The conference will be held at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel & Convention Center during the week of September 14-18, 2014.  Sponsored by the Judicial Council of Georgia, the theme for this year’s conference is A Decade of Reform, Restoration and Results.  Organizers hope that attendees will leave more informed and prepared to shape the future of accountability courts in Georgia and around the country at the conference. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the conference and work from academics and professionals across disciplines will be presented.

Bridgett E. Ortega, M.A., J.D. will be co-presenting with retired Judge Henry Weber, a session entitled “Ethics for Juvenile Drug Court Judges, Prosecutors and Attorneys.” She will also be presenting a session entitled “Targeting – Getting the Right Youth for the Juvenile Drug Court.” In addition to working at the law school, Bridgett is president of the board of directors for the National Juvenile Defender in Washington, D.C. She has served over 25 years in legal and programmatic positions aimed at juvenile justice reform. She is a zealous advocate for children and adults whether as a public defender, researcher, or in her role as policy consultant.  

For more information on the 10th Annual Accountability Courts Conference, visit their website. Once again, congratulations to Mrs. Ortega on yet another outstanding professional accomplishment.

AJMLS Professor Travels to New Mexico Detention Center to Represent Immigrant Children

Joseph Rosen, Immigration Law adjunct professor at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School  will travel to an immigration detention center in New Mexico next week to represent some of the Central American detainees who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. Rosen will be helping immigrant children and their parents determine if they have viable claims for asylum in the U.S. and seek relief from deportation. A former U.S. Customs Service special agent, Rosen will be doing the work in Artesia, N.M., for free in connection with the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

“For those with little or no resources that still see the U.S. as the sanctuary against evil that they have been subjected to, these hearings are their only hope,” Rosen said on his law firm’s Facebook page. “It humbles me to be a part of this and it also satisfies my sense of adventure and excitement to be a part of this effort.”

Read the full article on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution website.

AJMLS Helps Launch Free Family Law Clinic in Fulton County

The Superior Court of Fulton County Family Division in partnership with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School (AJMLS) and the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association (GHBA) is pleased to announce a new pilot project beginning this September designed to address the growing need for legal assistance for the self-represented individuals in family court. The Fulton County Family Law Clinic (FLC) will provide legal services to low income persons, including non-English speaking litigants, involved in family matters. Under the direction of professor, attorney and GHBA member, Bernadette Olmos, third-year law students at AJMLS will be actively engaged throughout the year in interviewing clients, completing child support worksheets, assisting unrepresented litigants with paperwork for simple divorces, name changes and legitimization, and representing clients at status conferences, mediations, uncontested hearings and TPO hearings.

Attorney Olmos stated, “The externs in the FLC are able to gain valuable insights into the operation of Fulton County’s Family Division while dealing with actual client matters. They also are able to develop a better understanding of the legal and socioeconomic problems common in the practice of law.” These services will extend the current assistance offered by the Family Law Information Center allowing for litigants to receive additional support.

“The dearth of attorneys available for low to middle income families has created a civil representation gap that continues to grow. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is honored to be a small part of the solution filling that gap while providing a rich and exciting educational experience for our students. The Family Law Intensive Externship Clinic is a win-win for the school, the court, and the citizens of Fulton County,” says Renata Turner, Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School Assistant Dean of Pro Bono and Experiential Learning. “The GHBA is honored to partner with the Fulton County Superior Court Family Division and AJMLS in such a worthwhile endeavor. This is an undertaking that will directly address a need in underrepresented communities while providing the law students, many of whom are minorities, with a priceless opportunity to develop legal skills and experience first-hand the value of community service. The project falls squarely within GHBA’s mission and we hope to continue this partnership for years to come,” says Ana Maria Martinez, President of the Georgia Hispanic Bar Association.

According to Yolanda L. Lewis, District Court Administrator, “The addition of a new, innovative clinic further reinforces the Superior Court’s commitment to community engagement. This project is a natural extension of our pledge to promote public awareness to the mechanisms available to those truly in need.” The Superior Court of Fulton County is dedicated to the administration of justice within the Atlanta Circuit, 5th Judicial Administrative District. Coupled with that dedication, we are also committed to operational transparency and forming stronger bonds within the community we serve. “Through such partnerships, the Superior Court has the opportunity to demonstrate to the law students the value of using one’s legal skills to meaningfully assist people within their community. In addition, being able to practice in a court setting is an invaluable learning opportunity that helps prepare students for future practice,” stated Deputy Chief Judge Wendy Shoob.

Beginning Tuesday, September 2, 2014, the clinic will be held each Tuesday and Wednesday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Family Law Information Center located in the Justice Center Tower, Suite T-704 at 185 Central Avenue, SW, Atlanta, Georgia.

Alumnus Sworn in as Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee

The law school is proud to announce that alumnus, Justin Angel, was elected and sworn in today as the Circuit Court Judge for the Twelfth Judicial Circuit of Tennessee making him first circuit court judge to be elected from Bledsoe County, which is the smallest county in the district. At age 33, Angel was one of the youngest people to hold a trial judge post in Tennessee. He’s also the first Republican in three or four decades to hold a trial judge’s seat in the 12th Judicial District and the first to hail from Bledsoe County.

He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “I made no secret about my age. I think citizens everywhere I campaigned were excited about a fresh face, new blood and new ideas, and someone with youth, enthusiasm and passion.” To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website.

Congratulations to Justin Angel for this outstanding accomplishment and well-deserved honor. The law school looks forward to sharing your future achievements.

Alumnus Desmond Humphrey Discusses DUI Charges and Second Chances with Atlanta Legal Experts

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus, Desmond Humphrey and a panel of other legal professionals were interviewed by Atlanta Legal Experts Radio this morning to discuss driving under the influence (DUI) and the implications of being found guilty of a DUI. The interview also included an interesting debate discussing if individuals should take field sobriety tests and breathalyzers.

When asked if he thought criminals deserve second chances, Humphrey cited his strong religious beliefs and passion for criminal defense as his reasons why everyone deserves a second chance. “Jesus’ love for us qualifies us to receive second, third, and even fifth chances and for me to be able to help someone receive a second chance is why I practice criminal defense.”

Humphrey recently opened a criminal defense law firm named Humphrey Law & Associates, LLC which allows him to seek justice for clients from all walks of life. The Atlanta-based firm is committed to taking a problem-solving approach to the practice of law. Humphrey attributes a large part of his success to the education he received at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School.

“John Marshall is truly a school that teaches you how to practice law in addition to learning the law. I have had a few cases that I was able to settle in favor of my clients due to the knowledge I received while in school,” said Humphrey.

In addition to opening his own firm, Humphrey partners with two fellow John Marshall alumni, Victoria Bridgman and Ashley Black, to work with a non-profit organization called Lawyer Up which focuses on educating the youth and the community at large about the law.

For more information on Desmond Humphrey, please visit his firm’s website. Congratulations to yet another John Marshall alumni on their post-graduate success.

AJMLS Alumna Discusses Personal Injury and Opening Her Own Firm in Radio Interview

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert was recently interviewed on Atlanta Legal Experts Radio regarding personal injury law. Joined by Carol Allen, Amy Pierson, William Vincent, and Charlotte Merritt, Jennifer talked about making a name for herself fighting for her clients’ rights through her firm, The Gore Law Firm, LLC.; which specializes in personal injury, wrongful death, and diminished value cases, located in Alpharetta, Georgia.

During the radio interview, she discussed how to handle a collision caused by an uninsured and underinsured driver, how to find eye-witnesses after a collision, how eye-witnesses can sometimes make or break a case, and special scenarios in personal injury cases that can lead to punitive damages.

Jennifer graduated from John Marshall in 2012 and served as the Student Bar Association president in her 3L year. In addition to being in SBA while in law school, Jennifer was also a member of the AJMLS Chapter of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers, was named a Peer Mentor of the Year, Outstanding Student of The Quarter, worked part time in the law library, and worked at a law firm specializing in personal injury. Jennifer credits John Marshall for having a significant impact on her legal career saying, “I am grateful for the opportunities that my legal education has given me.”

She is currently a member of The North Fulton Bar Association, the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, a board member of the Georgia Association for Women Lawyers as the Chair of The Communications Committee, and Leader of the “Working Moms Lunch.” Jennifer lives with her husband, Angus and their daughter Julia in Roswell, Georgia.

Congratulations to Jennifer on her numerous post-graduate accomplishments and memberships. The full audio of Jennifer’s interview with Atlanta Legal Experts Radio can be found on their website. For more information on Jennifer Gore-Cuthbert and her new firm can be found at The Gore Law Firm, LLC.

Professor Mears Discusses Death Penalty with the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, was recently interviewed by the Chattanooga Times Free Press to discuss delayed justice in Walker Co., GA where many inmates sit on death row for decades while the families of their victims are left to wait hopelessly for justice to be served. In the article, Professor Mears explained the process by which death penalty cases are assigned to local judges and the roles which the courts must play in insuring that each defendant in a death penalty case has a qualified defense attorney.

An excerpt from the article reads:

Michael Mears, the head of the Multi-County Public Defenders Office that represented indigent defendants in capital cases throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, said a district attorney can’t blame the defense in this type of case. The prosecutor has to move the case forward because the defense is always going to delay any hearings. One more day of delays means one more day their client stays alive.

“If people are awaiting death and are waiting for something in the case,” Mears said, “there is no great incentive to push it forward.”

“A lot of district attorneys shy away from it,” he said. “It’s a lot of work. Quite frankly, it’s the responsibility of the judge … It starts with the judge. The case is on his docket. He’s got to stay on top of it. Now, some of these cases fall through the cracks.”

To read the full article, visit the Chattanooga Times Free Press website. More information on Professor Mears can be found on his faculty profile.

Atlanta Legal Experts Radio Interviews AJMLS about its Expanding LL.M. Program

Atlanta Legal Experts Radio recently interviewed a diverse group of legal professionals all associated with Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School: Associate Dean for Scholarships, Jeffrey Van Detta; LL.M. Program Director, Lisa Kaplan; LL.M. in American Legal Studies alumna, Anna Sokol; and J.D. alumna, Tiffany Simmons.

Tiffany and Anna have gone on to used their John Marshall education to impact the legal community. Tiffany is an attorney at Simmons Law, LLC where she  counsels clients in the areas of business, criminal, and entertainment law. She plans to return to AJMLS to pursue her LL.M. in Employment Law this fall. Anna works with the Joseph H. Rosen Immigration Law Group P.C. where she specializes in working with foreign athletes, entertainers, artists, foreign professionals, and U.S. businesses seeking to employee foreign professionals.

The four John Marshall representatives discussed, in detail, the law school’s three LL.M. programs with host Emily Rowell. Interview questions ranged from the a breakdown of each programs benefits to how the new rule in Georgia that allows foreign-trained attorneys with LL.M. degrees to sit for the Georgia Bar exam will impact the program.

The full interview with Atlanta Legal Experts Radio contains valuable information for J.D. graduates, foreign or U.S.-trained, that are interested in pursuing an LL.M. degree in the areas of Employment Law or American Legal Studies. More information on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School’s innovative LL.M. programs can be found on the school’s website. LL.M. Director, Lisa Kaplan, is also available at lkaplan@johnmarshall.edu.

*Note: the LL.M. Program in Employment Law is still accepting applications for its Fall 2014 entering cohort. Apply today!

Article from Professor Fulcher Listed on SSRN’s Top Ten Download List

An article from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Patrice Fulcher, was recently listed on Social Science Research Network’s (SSRN) Top Ten download list for the topic Security and Safety. The article also reached the Top Ten downloads list for the Criminology eJournal, Political Economy – Development eJournal, and the Economic Inequality & the Law eJournal on SSRN. Professor Fulcher’s paper, “The Double Edged Sword of Prison Video Visitation: Claiming to Keep Families Together While Furthering the Aims of the Prison Industrial Complex,” discusses how the rise of video visitation in prisons may appear beneficial to maintaining strong family ties when in actuality it robs inmates of face-to-face interactions with their loved ones. For more, read the Abstract below. The full article can be downloaded through the SSRN website.

Abstract:

Each year, the United States (“U.S.”) spends billions to house the country’s massive prison population. The need to board over 2.3 million incarcerated human beings has U.S. correctional departments looking for ways to increase revenues and offset costs. According to these correctional agencies, one major expense is prison visitation. In order to reduce spending and alleviate safety concerns, U.S. federal, state, and private correctional facilities have turned to video visitation as an alternative to in-person visits.

The use of prison video visitation systems started in 1995. Since then, many private telecommunications companies have professed to have the solution to correctional visitation problems. These companies promote video visitation as a cheap, safe, and easy alternative to in-person visits, as well as a profitable means of generating revenues. Government and private correctional institutions, buying into these endorsements, have reduced or completely eliminated face-to-face visits and installed video visitation systems within their walls. Under this structure, inmates use video stations in their cellblock to visit family and friends at corresponding video kiosks within the institution; or inmates visit loved-ones who are at home or elsewhere outside prison walls via computer Internet video visitation.

In order to sell this method of visitation to the public, U.S. correctional agencies contend that video visitation helps to keep families together by allowing inmates greater contact opportunities with loved ones. In some regards, it may be argued that video visitation does assist in the preservation of family units. Inmates are often forced to serve time in prisons miles away from their homes, so outside visits are far and few between. Yet, through the use of in-home video visitation configurations, inmates are able to connect with relatives who reside hours away.

At first glance, this visitation scheme may seem beneficial, but this Article argues that prison video visitation is a double edge sword. First, prison video visitation may help preserve family units while people are incarcerated, but the elimination of face-to-face visits robs inmates of much needed human contact with their children, spouses, and other family members. Second, almost all in-home prison video visitation systems exploit the relatives and friends of inmates because they charge excessive fees to visit. Third, the economic success of prison video visitation systems is contingent on the number of incarcerated humans. So, like other profiteering schemes of the Prison Industrial Complex (“PIC”), prison video visitation incentivizes incarceration: A decrease in the prison population has a corollary effect on million dollar revenues and corporate profits, hence compelling the need to detain more U.S. inhabitants.

Consequently, this Article argues that face-to-face visitation should be the primary means of contact for families that visit at prison facilities. In order to accomplish this goal, inmates must be assigned to correctional facilities close to their homes if space is available and there is no proven risk to security. Additionally, if prison video visitation is utilized, any fees associated with its use must be regulated to insure that the financial expense is not exorbitant.

More information on Professor Fulcher can be found on her faculty profile.

Professor Dalton Discusses Priest-Penitent Privilege in The Washington Times

Fueling the debate over priest-penitent privilege, is the recent ruling in the Louisiana Supreme Court which states that a teenage girl’s confession to a priest can be used as testimony in a child abuse case. A recent article by The Washington Times says, the Diocese of Baton Rouge deemed the court’s decision a violation of the separation of church and state, and in a rare statement on legal proceedings, declared the ruling an infringement on religious freedom.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Kari Dalton, was consulted and offered her expert opinion on the decision. She says, “I think it’s a very interesting conflict placing priests between centuries-old holy rites and mandatory child abuse statutes.” Professor Dalton adds, “When you involve priests as mandatory reporters under child abuse reports in states, you run into lots of potential constitutional issues.”

Professor Dalton teaches Legal Research, Writing & Analysis I & II and Pretrial Practice & Procedure at the law school. She is also the author of “The Priest-Penitent Privilege v. Child Abuse Reporting Statutes: How to Avoid the Conflict and Serve Society.”

To read the full article, visit The Washington Times website. More information on Professor Dalton can be found on her faculty profile.

AJMLS Alumna, Tannyka Bent, Tells the Daily Report How She Stays Grounded

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Tannyka Bent says her many activities keep her grounded in a recent interview with the Daily Report. Bent is an artist, who recently donated one of her paintings to be auctioned at the Georgia Lawyers for the Arts gala. She plays softball, kickball and flag football on local club teams, and is looking for a basketball team. She volunteers with Habitat for Humanity many Saturdays and teaches Sunday school on Sundays. Tannyka Bent does all of these things in addition to being a transactional attorney for the State Road and Tollway Authority in Atlanta. Below are some highlights from Tannyka Bent’s interview with the Daily Report. For the full interview, visit their website.

With so many talents and interests, what got you into law?

I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer. My mom has a good friend who is an attorney, and I interned with him when I finished Mercy College in New York. That clinched my decision. In law school, I loved transactional drafting and received the CALI award for having the highest grade in that class.

I like the law because there isn’t a black-and-white answer to anything. You can be creative in how you interpret it.

Where do you get inspiration?

It can be a natural scene, a painting I see or a color I like. Whenever I get an idea, I jot it down on little pieces of paper. My pockets, purse and wallet are filled with them. I like to let the ideas breathe a bit, and when I start to work the feelings will come.

For the abstract work that I call “Marley,” I used the bright colors that said Jamaica to me and lots of energy in the lines. I was born in the U.S., but my parents came from Jamaica, so it’s part of my heritage.

Is volunteering for Habitat for Humanity a physical outlet as well?

Yes, but it’s more than that. I started working with the Cobb County group two or three years ago. I went through the training to become a crew leader, so I’m often putting down the hammer to explain to five or six others how to put together a wall. Helping to build houses is fun and I’ve learned so much.

Do all these different activities affect your career in any way?

Yes, they keep me grounded. I’m very happy with the work I’m doing, but if all I did day after day was draft contracts, I’d worry about getting burned out. This way, I stay fresh. There’s always something new to do.

Professor Joseph Rosen Discusses Immigration in Special Fourth of July Podcast

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Joseph Rosen was recently interviewed by Mark Deal from U.S. Immigration Podcast in a special Fourth of July episode. As America turned 238 years old, Professor Rosen was selected to speak on the history and future of immigration in the country. Rosen also discussed topics such as the Chinese Exclusion Act, security of the U.S./Mexican border, the discrimination surrounding immigration law development, and more.

Professor Rosen is the managing attorney for Joseph H. Rosen, Immigration Law Group.  He began practicing Immigration Law in June 2001 after retiring from the U.S. Government where he spent 20 years as a Special Agent for the FBI and U.S. Customs.  His law enforcement career includes 10 years of working on or near the U.S. /Mexico border.  He teaches immigration law, as an adjunct professor, at the law school and is a Clinical Director for the school’s Immigration Law Clinic located at Catholic Charities Atlanta.

To listen to the full podcast featuring Professor Rosen, visit U.S. Immigration Podcast.

 

 

Professor Mears Discusses the Upcoming Execution of Marcus Wellons

Marcus Wellons, convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in 1989 is set to be executed on June 17, 2014 at 7 p.m.

However, instead of a three-drug cocktail formerly used, the state of Georgia wants to use one drug — sodium pentothal — to execute Marcus Wellons. In small doses, it is a sedative. The state wants to use a custom-maker to actually make the drug — because the drug manufacturer that normally makes it won’t sell it to conduct executions. However, the identity of the new manufacturer that will make the lethal injection meant for Marcus Wellons is remaining a secret; making Wellons the new face of the argument over how to carry out Georgia’s death penalty.

“It’s an experimentation process that’s going on here. And they’re doing it in secret,” said Mike Mears, a lawyer, former mayor of Decatur, and Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor who has opposed the death penalty his entire legal career.

A new state law allows the state to keep secret who made the drug that would put Wellons to death. “I get drugs to treat an animal, and they have to tell me more than the state of Georgia is telling us about how they’re going to kill Marcus Wellons,” Mears said.

Marcus Wellons is due to die today, on the gurney in Jackson — unless his attorneys successfully challenge the secret source of the chemicals that would kill him. The full article and video can be found at 11Alive. For more information on Professor Mears, view his faculty profile.

Professor Rapping Speaks on Unequal Representation for the Poor

A recent article from The Guardian calls on Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Jonathan Rapping to discuss unequal representation for the nation’s poor. In the article by Sadhbh Walshe, the issue of wealth and its connection with acquittals, not-guilty verdicts, and reduced sentences were discussed. Professor Rapping insists that, “Money determines who sits in jail pre-trial. It determines who takes a plea deal, it determines who gets to have a trial and it can influence the outcome of a trial. This is not how our legal system is supposed to work.”

Walshe goes on to say: Public defenders today are dealing with caseloads that far exceed the recommended federal maximums established in 1973, and they’re cutting back on case spending because of it. “No matter how zealous, talented or passionate an attorney is,” says Rapping, “they cannot perform at their best when they are overworked and under-resourced.” Pit that lawyer against a team of high-powered attorneys with their accompanying “expert” witnesses, investigators, scientific tests, gloves and all, and someone who relies upon the Sixth Amendment doesn’t stand a chance.

Read the full article at The Guardian. An in-depth profile of Professor Rapping can be found on the law school’s faculty page.

 

AJMLS Alumna Wins Unpaid Overtime Case, Featured in Daily Report

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumna, Amanda Farahany was featured in the Daily Report for the recent verdict handed down by an Atlanta judge  who awarded more than $173,000 to Farahany and Severin Roberts who won a $6,097 verdict for their client in an unpaid overtime case.

In an order awarding Atlanta law firm Barrett & Farahany $173,300 in legal fees and expenses, U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr. said that even though plaintiff Kelly Cain may have succeeded “in only a limited way,” she still prevailed on her only claim against her former employer, Almeco USA Inc., and persuaded the jury that the company’s violation of federal Fair Labor Standards Act was willful.

The jury’s finding that Lawrenceville-based Almeco Inc. willfully failed over the course of two years to pay overtime to Cain led Thrash to double the damages to $13,814 (including interest and other costs).

Attorneys Farahany and Roberts, who served as cocounsel for Cain, said the case —over claims that her bosses required her to work unpaid overtime —should never have gone to trial.

Farahany said, “Once you go to trial, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. I think Judge Thrash recognized that and told the company exactly what they should do in a situation when you’ve got $25,000 in overtime in a case. … The judge realized this was a case that shouldn’t have been tried.”

Congratulations to Amanda Farahany and Roberts for their win and feature in the Daily Report. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School looks forward to many more accomplishments for Barrett & Farahany.

AJMLS Student Selected for Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School student, Spencer Fredericks along with 15 first- and second-year law students have been chosen to join the highly selective Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program class of 2014.

The clerks will assist public defender offices in the Southeast that partner with Gideon’s Promise, a nonprofit organization founded by AJMLS Professor Jon Rapping that works tirelessly to mobilize and train public defenders to provide the highest quality representation to people unable to afford an attorney.

As clerks, the students will be empowered to develop disciplined skill sets that will prove critical as they transition from students to the court room.

“These 16 students represent a small fraction of the young legal talent who are committed to improving the standards of the criminal justice system and to ensuring fair representation for all,” says Professor Rapping. “The experience they will receive as law clerks will serve as a cornerstone to their profession. We are proud of these outstanding students for their accomplishments and for their dedication to serving our nation’s most vulnerable citizens.”

This year’s Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program class includes:
Spencer Fredericks, first-year, Atlanta John Marshall Law School
Amanda Belier, second-year, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Rachel Berman, second-year, Emory University School of Law
David Clark, second-year, George Mason University School of Law
Melissa DiRado, second-year, Syracuse University College of Law
Nicole Duncan, first-year, Loyola Law School
Caroline Heicklen, second-year, Georgetown University Law Center
Charles Henniger, first-year, Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of Law
Aaron Horth, second-year, Boston University School of Law
Amanda Koons, second-year, Northwestern School of Law
Tamara Lee, second-year, Charleston School of Law
Alicia Luncheon, first-year, University of Georgia Law School
Jessica Mann, second-year, Drexel University Earle Mack School of Law
Logan Noblin, second-year, UCLA School of Law
Veronica O’Grady, second-year, University of Georgia Law School
Nathan Stuckey, second-year, University of California, Berkley

Four of the 16 law students chosen for the Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program are from Georgia law schools.

The Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program is a partnership between Gideon’s Promise, participating law schools and public defender offices in the Southeast. The program recruits talented students who are specifically interested in leading proactive solutions that improve the struggling indigent defense system; have completed at least one year of law school; and display the characteristics and passion required to become a promising public defender.

Last year, Professor Rapping and Gideon’s Promise were featured in the HBO documentary, “Gideon’s Army,” which follows three young public defenders, trained by Professor Rapping and Gideon’s Promise, in their sometimes breaking quest for equal justice in indigent defense. The organization has now trained more than 250 public defenders, who each see an average caseload of 300 per year.

Gideon’s Promise currently partners with more than 32 public defenders offices across 13 states including: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Congratulations again to Spencer Fredericks on being selected for the Gideon’s Promise Summer Law Clerk Program.

AJMLS Alumnus Represents Plaintiff for Botched IV Test Injury

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School alumnus and Alumni Board member, Lawrence Schlachter, M.D., J.D., has garnered headline recognition in the Daily Report for a major trial win for a medical malpractice plaintiff.  According to the Daily Report, a Fulton County jury awarded more than $4.4 million to a man claiming permanent injuries when a bit of radioactive tracer solution leaked into his arm during a cardiology test at Piedmont Newnan Hospital. Along with Schlachter, the plaintiff was also represented by Lloyd Bell and Darren Summerville.

For more information on the article, “Jurors Hold Plaintiff’s Hand, Then Put $4.4M Into It” can be found on the Daily Report’s website.

Footnote from AJMLS Professor Used in Dissent of Justice Benham

The Georgia Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in the Warren Lee Hill case. Hill was sentenced to death following the 1990 murder of a fellow inmate in the Lee County Correctional Institute, in which Hill beat the victim with a board embedded with nails.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Michael Mears was quoted in a footnote by Justice Robert Benham who dissented along with Justice Carol Hunstein. The footnote used from Professor Mears is based upon a Daily Report article in which Mears discussed the unconstitutionality of the State Secret Act which protects the identity of the executioners and the names of the drug manufacturer.

Their dissent cited a botched execution last month in Oklahoma, Benham saying Georgia’s approach to executions could lead to such “macabre results.” Benham wrote that the secrecy law has the effect of creating “star chamber-like proceedings.”

The footnote reads:
“See also Land, Greg, Oklahoma’s Botched Execution is a Wake-Up Call in Georgia, Says
Law Professor, Daily Report (May 1, 2014), quoting Professor Michael Mears as follows:
“The defense bar is …about protecting the Constitution. How do we know what [drugs] they’re using and not telling us about?”

The full article can be found online through the Daily Report.

AJMLS Professor Accepts the Eleventh Annual Ridenhour Prize for Gideon’s Army

Gideon’s Army, an HBO documentary about the non-profit organization of AJMLS professor Jon Rapping, recently received the 2014 Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize. The film follows three young public defenders as they struggle with staggering caseloads, long hours, low pay, and trying to balance their commitment to public service with a criminal justice system strained to the breaking point.

The annual Ridenhour Prizes recognize acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice or illuminate a more just vision of society. In reflecting upon its decision, the awards committee said, “We are thrilled to have selected Gideon’s Army which celebrates the legion of idealistic young public defenders who are fighting for equal justice for the disenfranchised within our broken and biased legal system, while struggling to stay one step ahead of poverty themselves.”

Professor Rapping accepted the award with Gideon’s Army director and producer, Dawn Porter. An excerpt from his speech reads:

Now, I started my career as a public defender here in D.C. which is one of the few really well functioning public defender offices in the country. I wasn’t aware at that time about this crisis, and then I went south and worked in Georgia and Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. And I saw criminal justice systems that just processed human beings, that literally accepted an embarrassingly low standard of justice for poor people. And I met these young inspired public defenders who would go into this work for the right reasons and very quickly have the passion beaten out of them. And soon they would either quit or they would become resigned to the status quo.

And so that led to my wife and I starting Gideon’s Promise, an organization that recruits, mentors, trains and support public defenders in an effort to build a community of change agents to go into courtrooms and broken systems and remind them of our American ideals.

Well, we started in 2007 with 16 lawyers and two offices. We will this summer have roughly 300 public defenders from 15 states. [applause] As we were building this, we realized we needed someone to share this story with the country, with the world. And so we started looking for a filmmaker, a storyteller, and we met Dawn Porter. Dawn was a new filmmaker. We invited her to come down and meet our lawyers. We had no idea at the time how brilliant Dawn is. We had no idea at the time how committed she would become to this cause and we certainly had no idea the impact that her work would have.

And what Dawn has done with “Gideon’s Promise” is she has reminded us that we can’t have equal justice without public defenders. She’s reminded us that public defenders are heroes. She shined a light on the public defenders who do this work and the people that they represent, which is a critical first step to raising our national consciousness and addressing this issue.

The full video of Professor Rapping’s acceptance speech is located below.

John Marshall Law Journal Climbs Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is pleased to recognize the John Marshall Law Journal’s ascent in the Washington & Lee Law Review Rankings. Since its inception in 2008, the law journal has climbed nearly 200 spots on Washington & Lee’s cumulative score index for student-edited U.S. law journals and reviews. The law school is proud to see how far the law journal has  come in such a short time. It is also impressive to see that the John Marshall Law Journal outranks some well-recognized journals. For more information about the John Marshall Law Journal and other student organization, click here.

AJMLS Students Participate in Law Day at the Georgia Bar

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students recently participated in Law Day. Law Day is a national day set aside to celebrate the rule of law, to recognize the role of the courts in our democracy, the importance of jury service and maintaining the integrity of the courts.  The official Law Day designated by Congress in 1961 is May 1st.

Georgia holds Law Day during the month of May at different locations around the state like churches, the Georgia Bar, community centers, and high schools. This year’s Law Day event was held at the Georgia Bar. The theme set by the American Bar Association for this year was ‘American Democracy and the Rule of Law: Why Every Vote Matters’ due to the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The event was held in conjunction with Atlanta Public Schools (APS), several Georgia Bar Associations and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.  The morning session was focused on educating APS high school students and registering them students to vote.  AJMLS students participated in registering students and providing voter simulations. The evening session was a CLE for attorneys open to the public.

Panel discussions were held with leaders from the League of Women Voters, Counsel of the GA Democratic Party, Georgia Republican Party, Georgia State Law Professors, The Carter Center, Amnesty International, UGA Law Professors, the Human Rights Network, SVP of Legal at CNN, the Georgia Secretary of State, Civil Rights Activists, Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipients and a US Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia.

AJMLS 1L Students Shine at the Intraschool Moot Court Competition

First-year students at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School recently competed in the law school’s Intraschool Moot Court Competition. With the guidance of professors, alumni and the Moot Court team, these 1L’s proved that they possess the skill and talent needed to excel in their legal education and careers. Congratulations to the winners of the Intraschool Moot Court Competition:

*Best Appellant Oralist: Amber Reed
*Runner-Up: Emily Napier

 

*Best Appellee Oralist: Shawnta Williams
*Runner-Up: Ingrid Saffrey

*Best Appellant Brief: Stephanie Housefield
*Best Appellee Brief: Ingrid Saffrey

The competition was the culmination of a great deal of hard work from many divisions within the law school. Professors Cato, Dalton, Doneff, Gelin, Jaffe, Jeffries, and Luna worked tirelessly to prepare their classes for the competition. Many members of the Moot Court helped bench students in their Legal Writing classes.

Professors Tandy and Van Detta, along with alumni coaches Michael Bauer, Ben Stidham, and Thomas Lyman, devoted their entire Saturday to judging the advocates who made it to the Semi-Final Round. Stefanie Hilliard, Nick Kitchens, Ella O’Kelley, Kim Stahl, Drew Turner, Tracy Udunka, Mathis Wilkens, and Daniel Ybanez helped judge and coordinate the various levels of the competition.

Student/alumni Moot Court brief graders spent countless hours grading bench briefs. The brief scoring team consisted of alumni Ben Stidham (Chair), alumni coach Michael Bauer, Irena Chernova, Homer Jordan, and Rodrigo Silvo.

The advocates did such an outstanding job that Judge Ray from the Georgia Court of Appeals told the courtroom full of AJMLS students that he now understood how the John Marshall Moot Court team was able to beat his law school (UGA) at Georgia Intrastate.

Under the direction of the faculty advisor and alumni coaches Michael Bauer and Thomas Lyman, the Moot Court program has made tremendous strides this year. Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School is eager to see how this next generation of advocates will further advance the AJMLS Moot Court program.

National Institute for Trial Advocacy Invites AJMLS Professor to Teach Trial Advocacy Basics

The National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) is the nation’s leading provider of legal advocacy skills training. A 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization based in Boulder, Colorado, NITA pioneered the legal skills learning-by-doing methodology over 40 years ago and has since remained the ultimate standard in continuing legal education.

Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor Suparna Malempati was recently invited to join the Rocky Mountain team to teach new lawyers the basics of trial advocacy.  She spent fours days training the participants on closing arguments, direct examination, and cross examination skills. You can read more about her experience on the Advocacy Teaching Blog.

NITA’s team of practicing lawyers, professors and judges from around the nation dedicates its efforts to the training and development of skilled and ethical legal advocates to improve the adversarial justice system. NITA’s mission is to:

  • Promote justice through effective and ethical advocacy;
  • Train and mentor lawyers to be competent and ethical advocates in pursuit of justice; and
  • Develop and teach trial advocacy skills to support and promote the effective and fair administration of justice.

For more information about NITA, please visit the website at www.nita.org. View a full list of Professor Malempati’s published articles and media appearances on her faculty profile.

Daily Report Interviews Professor Mears on Botched Oklahoma Execution

“The botched execution of Clayton Lockett in Oklahoma on Tuesday should serve as a wake-up call to Georgia officials scrambling to find ways to put inmates to death without trampling constitutional guarantees and basic human decency,” said Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School professor, Michael Mears, in a recent interview with the Daily Report.

Professor Mears, who is also the founding director of the Georgia Public Defender Standards Council, spoke candidly with the Daily Report about the recent execution.

“This is certainly not the first botched lethal injection execution, and if the states continue to allow prison guards to ‘play doctor’ we will have more of these outrageous execution botches,” said Mears. “It is one thing to kill a person. It is another thing to conduct experiments on them under the guise of carrying out an execution.”

The full interview can be found on the Daily Report’s website. For more information on the published works, media appearances and accomplishments of Professor Mears, visit his faculty profile.